Industry welcomes Welsh government’s tidal lagoon challenge
Marine Energy Wales and Tidal Range Alliance have welcomed the Welsh government’s intention to reassess its potential support for the development of tidal range energy projects in Wales.
Marine Energy Wales has been championing a fresh assessment of tidal range power generation in broad recognition of tidal range’s unique multi-generational operating life, extensive co-benefits and contribution to Wales and the UK’s energy security, stability and net-zero targets.
Despite the immense potential of this form of long-term clean power generation, proposed projects have to date faced a number of consenting and permitting roadblocks that have made it impossible to initiate and construct the tidal lagoon projects that would harness the predictable cyclical power of the tide.
In light of these past challenges Marine Energy Wales welcomes recent announcements from Welsh government for the market engagement probe to gauge interest for a tidal range competition in Wales that would support the delivery of a first of its kind tidal lagoon project in Welsh waters.
The purpose of the market engagement is to understand the most appropriate approach to undertaking such a competition and the appropriate package of support to be offered by Welsh government.
As well as delivering the first tidal range facility in Wales, such a competition could catalyse research to enable future projects to be delivered more easily, develop a best practice approach to planning and environmental regulations that seeks to protect habitats and heritage whilst encouraging net-gain outcomes, according to Marine Energy Wales.
Henry Dixon, Chair of the Tidal Range Alliance, had this to say: “The Tidal Range Alliance (TRA) welcomes the Welsh Government’s Tidal Lagoon Challenge and strongly backs its ambition to consult and identify the support which may be necessary from the Welsh Government to enable the development and construction of a full-scale tidal lagoon facility.
“The Tidal Lagoon Challenge provides the industry with an opportunity to shine a light on features and benefits that demonstrate tidal lagoons’ whole-life and whole-system value for money.
“Providing low-carbon, predictable renewable energy, tidal lagoons will deliver reliable and flexible electricity whatever the wind conditions or time of day – ensuring grid security and stability. Moreover, tidal lagoons have an exceptional operating life, at over 120 years, over three times a wind farm and twice a nuclear plant, and significant co-benefits that other schemes do not bring, such as protecting communities and businesses from rising sea levels.
“The design, construction and operation of tidal lagoons in Wales would be transformational for regional economies and the wider supply chain”.
Jess Hooper, Marine Energy Wales’ Programme Manager, added: “We’re really pleased to see tidal range moving back up the clean power agenda in Wales and welcome the recent announcement from Welsh government.
“Having installed and operational tidal range projects is key to Wales realising its potential as a leading region in offshore renewable power generation. With some of Europe’s largest tidal ranges right on our shores we have an incredible opportunity to produce reliable renewable power for both our own communities and the UK as a whole, utilising technology that will keep the lights on for generations to come.
“We urge all interested parties to participate in discussions with Welsh government and we look forward to further announcements regarding the competition”.
The deadline for registering interest for the Welsh governemnt’s tidal lagoons initiative has been set for 6 May 2021.