Macquarie eyes a stake in Swansea Bay tidal lagoon scheme

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon (Image: Tidal Lagoon Power)

Macquarie Group is reportedly looking to take an equity stake in the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project following the acquisition of the UK Green Investment Bank.

The new owner of the UK Green Investment Bank wants to take an equity stake in the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project as it believes in the proposed technology for the scheme, Mark Dooley, Macquarie Capital Head of Infrastructure, Utilities and Renewables in Europe, said for Bloomberg.

Tidal Lagoon Power, the developer behind the proposed tidal lagoon scheme, has in 2015 engaged Macquarie Capital, a principle investment arm of Macquarie Group, to advise the company on debt funding.

Dooley told Bloomberg that there is a ‘queue’ of interested parties who would like to become equity investors for the project.

Having acquired the UK Green Investment Bank, Macquarie committed to its newly established target of £3 billion of new investments in green energy projects over the next three years, stating that the anticipated investments will span range of renewables, including offshore wind and tidal energy.

Macquarie is currently advising on 850MW of tidal projects under development, including the projects from Tidal Lagoon Power and Atlantis Resources.

However, the decision on the subsidies for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon could be further delayed as a result of the upcoming early general election in the UK, set for June 8, 2017.

The UK government has been repeatedly urged by both politicians and the industry to support the £1.3 billion Swansea tidal lagoon scheme, with the latest call coming from Ken Skates, Wales’ Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, who said further delays could move the project start schedule to 2019, according to Wales Online.

“Tide and time wait for no man but the UK Government seems to do both. It’s not going to help that we have a General Election now which could delay things even further. But our call to the UK Government is simple: it needs to get moving on this now,” Skates was quoted as saying by Wales Online.

If the subsidy agreement for the project is reached in June, Tidal Lagoon Power still needs to secure a marine license from Natural Resources Wales in order for any of the marine works to start, which may present a hurdle as two parties disagree on the effects the tidal lagoon would have on the fish death rates in the area.

With the design life 120 years, the tidal lagoon at Swansea Bay would provide an annual net power output of 400GWh – enough to provide clean electricity to around 155,000 Welsh households.

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