Plans for world’s first tidal power plant ‘first step’ to supplying 10% of UK’s electricity

Plans for the world's first tidal lagoon power plant have been submitted to planning inspectors today - a first step that could see 10% of the UK's domestic electricity coming from tidal by 2023, according to the designers.

If approved, the project will be built in Swansea Bay and will include a 9.5 km long sea wall to capture enough renewable energy from incoming and outgoing tides to power more than 120,000 homes for 120 years.

A Development Consent Order application has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate (PINs) by project leaders Tidal Lagoon Power and London 2012 Olympic Park designer, LDA Design.

The project will be the first in Tidal Lagoon Power’s plans to supply 10% of the UK’s domestic electricity by building at least five full-scale tidal lagoons in UK waters by 2023, before “the UK sees any generation from new nuclear”.

Tidal Lagoon Power CEO Mark Shorrock said that the submission of the application marks a turning point in the development of the UK’s tidal resource.

Shorrock said: “Until now, tidal energy has been heavily promoted by governments and environmentalists as an intuitive source of clean and reliable energy for our island nation, but the business response has focused on relatively small-scale tidal stream devices.

“The UK has the second highest tidal range in the world and today we are submitting an application for a development that will prove that this resource can be harnessed in a way that makes economic, environmental and social sense. Tidal lagoons offer renewable energy at nuclear scale and thus the investment of hundreds of millions of pounds in UK industries and coastal communities,” he added.

LDA Design partner Alister Kratt said: “This naturally powered zero carbon scheme is enhanced by these destination buildings, that form a key part of the masterplan. The lagoon will provide a source of clean, renewable energy for the future and the entire maritime park will make a valuable contribution to the public realm of Swansea Bay and its waterfront.”

If given the go-ahead, construction of the £850m project will begin in the first half of 2015, with first power being generated in 2018.

Earlier this week, Cranfield University announced that it had designed a new ‘platform’ to significantly cut the costs and risks of tidal energy projects and could help boost industry investment.

Leigh Stringer

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