Ecotricity boss blasts Welsh lagoon cash bid

Dale Vince (Photo: Ecotricity)

The founder of UK-based green outfit Ecotricity, Dale Vince, has denounced the Welsh government’s proposal to invest in the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project stating the associated costs were far higher than necessary.

Vince’s comments come following last week’s announcement by the Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones who said the Welsh government was ready to offer ‘substantial investment’ for Tidal Lagoon Power’s Swansea tidal lagoon project if that would kick-start its development.

The Ecotricity founder has once again deemed the Hendry review as ‘a bit of a whitewash’, questioning the Welsh government’s intention to invest and loan money for what he called ‘the incredibly expensive Swansea scheme’.

The Welsh government is allegedly proposing to invest at least £100 million for the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon, according to UK media.

Vince said: “I’m not sure how one public body or arm of government offering to chip in to help another one ‘afford’ this scheme, can do anything to change the fundamental outlook – in terms of cost to the public that’s a zero sum game, the cost is the same – far higher than it needs to be.

“The PR machine bemoans this one year ‘delay’ and government ‘dithering’ – but faced with this incredibly big ask for a sweetheart deal from a private company – they are surely right to take their time, to proceed with a little caution.”

To remind, a full year has passed since the former UK minister for energy Charles Hendry backed tidal lagoon industry in a government-commissioned review, stating that moving along with the ‘pathfinder’ Swansea Bay tidal lagoon was a ‘no-regrets policy’.

Tidal Lagoon Power is still awaiting the subsidy agreement with the UK government in order to move forward with the project.

Vince has in 2017 called the UK government to resist the pressures to grant support for the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon stating that the proposed project is too expensive.

At that time, Vince said that tidal lagoons built entirely offshore can produce power at half the cost of those like Swansea Bay tidal lagoon which are connected to the foreshore.

The proposed £1.3 billion Swansea Bay tidal lagoon will have the capacity of 320MW. If constructed, it will be capable of generating electricity for 155,000 homes for the next 120 years.