The first formal scoping document for a tidal lagoon based power plant in Swansea Bay has been tabled. The plant could be connected to the Grid and be power ready in 2017.
Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay Limited has completed 18 months feasibility work and has now submitted an initial Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) scoping report to the Planning Inspectorate. This will be considered by the authorities over the statutory 42 day period.
The company has held over 100 meetings with local stakeholders to date to discuss and hone early plans. They will be embarking on a series of local public consultations in early 2013 where detailed plans for the lagoon will be unveiled.
The company is then expected to begin formal consultation in spring 2013 with full project detail, before submitting an application for development consent to the Planning Inspectorate in late summer of 2013.
Swansea Bay has been chosen as it offers the necessary conditions for building lagoons – the water must be shallow and the tidal range must be large. The Severn Estuary holds the second highest tidal range in the world and Swansea Bay reaches a range of up to 12m. As well as benefitting from this key characteristic, Swansea has a site of gently sloping seabed (suitable for this construction method) and proximity to a population centre, such that transmission losses are minimised from the electricity produced.
The multi-million pound development will comprise a sand core breakwater and hydro turbines mounted in concrete caissons. The breakwater will use dredged sandy materials from the sea bed which are hydraulically filled into long geotextile casings 5m in diameter. On top of these Geotubes® and compacted sand fill are placed small rocks and on top of the small rocks, larger rock armour to protect the structure against degradation from the marine environment as well as the sun and weather.
The proposed 200 MW power plant will be capable of generating predictable, baseload electricity 16 hours a day using both ebb and flood tides. Saving 200,000 tonnes of CO2 and generating enough electricity for the 107,000 homes in the Swansea area, the project will offer predictable zero carbon electricity for 120 years.
Eva Bishop, Tidal Development Director for Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay says:
“We are extremely excited about this project because, if successful, it will be the world’s first tidal lagoon based power plant, capable of generating enough electricity for all of the homes in Swansea. It is a significant opportunity for Wales to take the lead in the tidal industry for the UK as we work towards driving a critical change in the UK’s energy mix with low cost, low carbon electricity sources that are sustainable long-term.”