UK: Tidal lagoon competition on the horizon

Ecotricity, a UK-based green energy company, plans to build the first tidal lagoon in the UK for almost half the price currently proposed for Swansea Bay tidal lagoon scheme, the company informed.

Ecotricty, which will release details of its plans later this year, said it is ready to compete to build the first tidal lagoon energy site in the UK.

The company sent a letter to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change urging the Government to take its time and look more closely at the cost of tidal energy, because it believes it can build tidal lagoon energy site at half the price of the currently proposed Swansea Bay scheme, ensuring the value for money from the emerging industry.

Dale Vince, Econtricty founder, said: “We were concerned that the Government were being pushed into paying too high a price for tidal energy through the Swansea Bay scheme – that would be bad for renewable energy generally because it would reinforce the myth that green energy is expensive, and bad for tidal power specifically because it may never get off the ground.”

Vince added that Ecotricity was confident tidal power projects can be built around UK at lower costs closer to £90/MWh, in contrast to £168/MWh price tag thought to be proposed by Swansea Bay.

“The Government has been agonising for a while about what level of support to give to the first tidal project in Britain. They’re clearly interested in the technology, which is a good thing, but they’ve been put off by the price tag of £168/MWh proposed by Swansea Bay – that’s understandable.

“We welcome the review, because we’re confident that tidal power projects can be built around Britain at much closer to £90/MWh – that’s the same price the Government are paying to support nuclear energy, but without the risks or clean-up costs,” added Vice.

The Government’s independent review of tidal energy in Britain will commence in the spring, in collaboration with DECC and the HM Treasury.

“We’re hoping this review will lead to the Government supporting tidal energy in Britain and doing it in a way that will enable competition, and through that value for money – enabling tidal mills to achieve their true potential in Britain,” concluded Vince.

To remind, Tidal Lagoon Power delayed the beginning of construction works on the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project for a year due to the stall in negotiations with the Government regarding the subsidies for the lagoon.

The company is now talking with the UK government to set up a longer, 90-year contract, that would lower the price of Swansea Bay tidal lagoon electricity generation.