A funding pledge from the Welsh government could rescue the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay tidal lagoon scheme, giving fresh hope to the architects working on the embattled project
Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones has written to UK energy secretary Greg Clark, offering £200 million as part of a proposed deal to save the pioneering energy development, following recent reports the UK government was set to scrap it.
Tidal Lagoon Power’s proposed 320MW project in Swansea Bay would generate electrical power from the sea’s tidal force using 16 turbines installed on a 10km-long breakwater.
Among those involved in the scheme is London-based Juice Architects, which revealed its design for an offshore visitor centre for the project in 2014 and FaulknerBrowns, which has drawn up plans for an associated 4,000m² watersports centre and oyster hatchery.
LDA Design created the lagoon’s masterplan.
Juice Architects Swansea
It was hoped construction of the overall tidal lagoon would begin this year but Westminster has yet to commit to a subsidy package, with reports suggesting UK ministers could be on the verge of pulling the plug on the project.
Jones said in his letter: ‘In broad terms my proposal would be for the offer to comprise a Welsh Government commitment to an equity and/or loan investment of £200 million, with the UK Government committing to a contract for difference on the same terms as that offered to Hinckley Point C (£92.50/MWH in 2012 prices over a 35-year term from the date of commissioning).’
Tidal Lagoon (Swansea Bay) chairman Keith Clarke thanked the first minister for his ‘particularly timely initiative’.
He said: ‘We look forward to seeing the UK Government’s positive response to a proposed joint deal on these terms. The proposal for a joint deal with this structure is extremely constructive; we are eager to engage on it with all parties and it is a proposal we’d be delighted to take to our board.’
A spokesperson for the UK Government said an announcement would be made in due course.
Former energy minister Charles Hendry’s independent review of tidal lagoons last year contained support for the process.
Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon - FaulknerBrowns’ proposed recreational centre