Make or break week for Swansea Bay tidal lagoon as developers wait to hear if Energy Secretary will give consent...
15:04, 8 JUNE 2015
BY CHRIS KELSEY
If the Energy Secretary approves Swansea Bay tidal lagoon it could mark the start of a global industry
This week the long wait to hear if the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon will get the go ahead comes to an end. Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has until Wednesday to tell the world whether she has decided to accept the Planning Inspectorate's advice that the groundbreaking project should proceed.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the lagoon already had the Government's seal of approval, given the warm terms in which it has been spoken of by both the Prime Minister and Chancellor in recent months.
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Last week in Prime Minister's Questions David Cameron hailed the news that a Chinese investment firm has been picked as preferred bidder for the lagoon wall construction, and in his Budget speech in March George Osborne confirmed that the Government was entering formal negotiations with Tidal Lagoon Power about the funding arrangements for the project.
Budget 2015: Swansea Bay tidal lagoon became much more likely today...
However, it rests with the Energy Secretary to give consent to the project and that's why Ms Rudd's decision this week is so important. It's the first of three crucial steps the project must go through before work can begin.
The others are the agreement on a contract for difference - which could provide the project's investors with a guaranteed price for the electricity of up to £168 per megawatt hour for as long as 35 years - and the award of a marine licence from the Welsh Government.
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There is potentially a huge amount riding on Ms Rudd's decision. Approval could fire the starting pistol for the development of five further, much bigger lagoons in the Severn, North Wales and north west England.
Proposed sites of tidal lagoons around Wales coast It could also be the beginning of a global export industry in tidal lagoon construction, with the Chinese investors having already said they hope to build similar lagoons in China and elsewhere in Asia.
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How much of that turns into jobs in Wales will remain to be seen. What's also uncertain is what might happen should Ms Rudd surprise everyone and decide not to approve the scheme. Will Tidal Lagoon Power turn its attention to getting one of the other lagoons approved? Or might it decide to seek easier waters in Asia?
So a lot rides on Ms Rudd's decision this week. After the false start of the Severn barrage it could finally mark the beginning of our harnessing the tremendous energy potential of the tides around our shores.
Read more at http://www.ybw.com/forums/showthread.php?433070-Make-or-break-week-for-Swansea-Bay-tidal-lagoon-as-developers-wait-to-hear-if-Energy#0izcPvUKEyp5owLX.99