Plans have been released for the world’s first, purpose-built, tidal lagoon power plant that will be capable of generating electricity equivalent to Swansea’s entire domestic consumption.
The proposed 250MW power plant will produce predictable, baseload electricity for 16 hours each day, using both the ebb and flood tides. It will save over 200,000 tonnes of CO2 per year for its design life of over 100 years.
The project represents an investment of £650 million, and according to the development company behind the scheme is a significant opportunity for Wales to take the lead in the tidal industry for the UK. The power plant could be connected to the National Grid and be ‘power ready’ in 2017.
The tidal lagoon will comprise a “land attached” impoundment, located between the dredged channels of the Tawe and Neath rivers. The impounded area will be approximately 10km sq with a total wall length in the region of 10km. Landfall points will be located at or near Swansea Docks, but the lagoon will not obstruct the entrance to any rivers or marinas, nor adversely affect the operation of the port.
The total height of the seawall will be approximately 11m (shore side) and 19m (offshore). The visibility of the wall at low water will be 11.3m, at high water it will measure 2.8m. The site will have a total installed capacity of c.250MW with a potential annual output of c.400GWh. It is expected that electricity will be generated for 16 hours each day. The current anticipated date for connection and “switch on” is summer 2017.
Alex Herbert, Head of Planning for Tidal Lagoon Power plc says:
“The Swansea project will hopefully be the first in a network of lagoons around the UK coastline, driving a critical change in our energy mix with low cost, low carbon electricity sources that are sustainable long-term.”
“Electricity is generated by creating a “head” of water – a difference in water level between the inside and outside of the lagoon – and channelling the resulting flow through turbines. Once there is a sufficient difference in water level, the lagoon gates are opened and the turbines begin to generate. It is proposed to generate on both the incoming (flood) tides and outgoing (ebb) tides, maximising the energy extraction potential from any site.”
“Detailed plans for the lagoon are now being finalised prior to beginning formal consultation in summer 2013. Our intention, subject to design readiness, is to submit an application for development consent to the Planning Inspectorate in the late autumn of 2013.”
Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is being promoted and developed by Tidal Lagoon Power Limited (TLP). TLP’s focus is the development of a series of tidal lagoons to generate renewable energy from the rise and fall of the considerable tidal range to be found in Welsh and UK waters.