UK: Planning consent granted for Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

Swansea Bay tidal lagoon gets green light

UK Secretary of State, Amber Rudd, has granted the planning consent for the construction of the world’s first tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay.

Swansea Bay 320 MW tidal lagoon project, developed by Tidal Lagoon Power, has a design life of 120 years and a net annual power output of 400 GWh.

It is enough to meet the annual electricity requirement of over 155.000 homes, or over 90 percent of homes in the Swansea Bay area, according to Tidal Lagoon Power.

In the Notice of Decision, published on Planning Inspectorate website, it is stated: “The Secretary of State has decided, following consideration of the report of the Examining Authority who conducted an examination into the Application that development consent should be granted for the development, and therefore has decided to make an Order under sections 114 and 120 of the Planning Act 2008.”

Separately from the planning consent, the £1 bln worth project is still subject to Contract for Difference (CFD) negotiations to establish whether a tidal lagoon at Swansea Bay is affordable and value for money for consumers.

Any decision to offer a CFD for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project would be subject to strict value for money considerations and affordability, and to State aid approval.

The first phase of negotiations with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on a potential CFD for the project was announced in the Chancellor’s Budget in March 2015.

Commenting on the granted consent for the tidal lagoon, Mark Shorrock, CEO of Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay, said: “With the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon becoming a reality, locking in 120 year life, zero carbon energy infrastructure, we have the potential to help transform our industrial economy and the UK’s energy mix.

“We now have some further permissions to secure and must successfully conclude CFD negotiations on our way to financial close, but the vision is now closer to reality than ever before and our delivery team is readying itself to start on site and start delivering for Swansea Bay next spring.”

Energy and Climate Change and Wales Office Minister Lord Bourne said: “Low carbon energy projects like the tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay could bring investment, support local jobs and help contribute to the Welsh economy and Swansea area.”

The decision for granting the planning consent was made 3 months after the Planning Inspectorate issued a report of recommendation to the Secretary of State on March 10.

The project’s delivery partnerships announced to date are: Atkins as Client’s Engineer, General Electric and Andritz Hydro as Turbine Preferred Bidders, Laing O’Rourke as Turbine Housing Preferred Bidder, Alun Griffiths as Public Realm Ancillary Works Preferred Bidder, China Harbour Engineering Company as Marine Works Preferred Bidder; and Prudential and InfraRed Capital Partners as Equity Partners.

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Image: Tidal Lagoon Power