Swansea Bay could be the home of a huge renewable energy hub under plans submitted earlier today (February 7th).
Tidal Lagoon Power has finally handed in its formal application for a tidal lagoon power plant that is reported to be the first of its kind in the world. The £850 million project would take two years to build, and the scale of the operation is truly vast: a six-mile-long seawall in the shape of a horseshoe will run from Swansea docks right across to the Fabian Way campus of the city’s university, holding around 11 square km of water.
With 1,850 construction jobs expected to be created over the duration of the project, it is believed the contribution to the local economy will be huge - another 60 jobs will be generated on a long-term operational bases, while the BBC reports another 90 will be connected to visitor spending.
But by far the biggest advantage of the tidal lagoon project would be the huge amount of clean energy it could produce. In fact, this Swansea Bay site alone could potentially power as many as 120,000 homes for as long as 120 years.
“As we submit our planning application today, we are confident that we are submitting an application that makes economic, environmental and social sense,” says Mark Shorrock, chief executive of Tidal Lagoon Power. “Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will harness the natural rhythms of the tides, provide clean energy, restore local biodiversity and create opportunities for local people for generations to come.”
Tidal energy works on the principle of holding in the water which moves as a result of changing tides, then gradually letting it out at high and low tide. The water passes through turbines, making them spin and producing electricity.
However, this huge project is just the first step along the road for Tidal Lagoon Power, which hopes to supply a tenth of the UK’s domestic electricity from five such lagoons by 2023 - years before the UK is expected to be using nuclear energy from the plants recently announced.
The scheme now has to win planning permission, but it will also have to overcome scepticism to benefit from hefty government subsidies in order to fund the project.
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