Swansea tidal lagoon wins engineering prize

The proposed Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project has won at this year’s Engineer Awards, scooping the top prize for Energy, Efficiency & Sustainability.

The lagoon has been designed to harness the power of the tides to provide long-term, predictable, low-carbon electricity for the UK, generating enough energy to power 155,000 Welsh homes annually, according to Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP), the company behind the project.

Aside from TLP, the project is being developed with the support from LDA Design and Atkins.

TLP is also planning five other projects in UK waters. Together, these lagoons are predicted to be capable of generating sufficient energy to supply around 8% of the UK’s total electricity.

The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is not just about sustainable energy production, according to the London-based consultancy LDA Desin.

It also demonstrates visionary place-making and points to how new infrastructure can be used to drive regeneration, the consultancy said.

LDA Design’s masterplan takes a multi-functional approach to transform 2.5km of redundant dockside into a tourist hot spot, with a regional sailing centre and a new beach.

The sea walls will not only help to reduce future flood risk; they will also create the framework for a new maritime park. In addition, the site provides a setting to Swansea University’s new Bay Campus.

The scheme has been welcomed by local community, which gave it an 86 per cent approval rating, according to LDA Design.

Earlier this year, the lagoon was backed by an independent review of tidal power. Former energy minister, Charles Hendry concluded it was a ‘no regrets option’ that could lead to at least five other full-scale projects. The lagoon is awaiting a final decision by the UK government.

“On every level this is a pioneering project,” explains LDA Design’s Alister Kratt. “We would welcome a positive decision by the government – and soon, so that we can boost the UK’s ability to produce clean energy and give Swansea a fantastic new stretch of waterfront.”

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon’s most recent award follows a double win at the 2017 Planning Awards for Infrastructure and Sustainability.