Harnessing the second highest tidal range in the world
The Cardiff Tidal Lagoon is being developed as the first full-scale lagoon in our programme. Located in the Severn Estuary, the project seeks to harness the second highest tidal range in the world.
With a potential installed capacity of around 3GW and a potential annual power output of around 5.5TWh the project could comfortably meet the equivalent of the annual electricity requirement of every home in Wales.
Development of Cardiff Tidal Lagoon began in 2013. The project is now on its 12th design iteration and submitted its first formal planning documentation in March 2015, the Scoping Report. A formal application for a Development Consent Order is expected to be made in 2018, following extensive consultation with the local community and other stakeholders.
With the potential to invest around £8 billion of private capital, spanning between the cities of Cardiff and Newport, the lagoon could represent an Olympic-sized economic opportunity to the Cardiff Capital Region, a diverse city region of 1.5 million people consisting of 10 local authorities. Early independent estimates suggest that over 3,000 construction workers would be required on the build, with the potential to create and sustain over 8,000 Welsh and UK manufacturing jobs in the project’s supply chain.
Based on our work at Swansea Bay, it is estimated that Tidal Lagoon Cardiff could contribute up to £2 billion in Gross Value Added to the Welsh economy during construction, with a potential GVA contribution to Wales of over £500 million in each of the project’s 120 years of operation.
The project’s breakwater wall would attach to the foreshore, at its western extent approximately 2km from the entrance to Cardiff Bay, and at its eastern extent approximately 2km from the mouth of the River Usk. The furthest offshore extent is approximately 8km from the foreshore to the centre of the Severn Estuary and the wall would span over 18km, around double the length of wall at Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay. By enclosing approximately 70 km2 of the Estuary, the project would be able to pass over 800 million m3 of water through its turbines on each tidal cycle, more than 11 times the volume of water available to the pathfinder project at Swansea Bay.
The UK tidal lagoon industry can be certain in its ability to reduce costs immediately by simply moving to bigger sites with similar or higher tidal range to Swansea Bay; it does not rely on an assumption of technology learning over time, although this will clearly help drive costs even lower.
Economies of scale apply: large-scale lagoons make cheaper power than small-scale lagoons. The Cardiff Tidal Lagoon could generate the cheapest electricity of all new power stations in the UK. For a comparison with other types of energy generation see our League Table.
A project of this scale would also unlock vital investment in the UK’s manufacturing supply chain, building upon the foundations laid by the pathfinder project at Swansea Bay to cement the UK’s place at the heart of a new global industry with significant export potential.