Tidal lagoon energy project decision to be announced this week

Aerial image of Swansea Bay showing tidal lagoon layout
Aerial image of Swansea Bay showing tidal lagoon layout

The Government is set to announce on Wednesday whether it will support a “world first” tidal lagoon energy project, amid speculation it will turn the scheme down.

Tidal Lagoon Power says it would need subsidies similar to those for new nuclear power to build the £1.3 billion scheme of a sea-wall with turbines to generate low-carbon electricity from the tides in Swansea Bay.

The company says the scheme, backed as a “pathfinder” project to develop the tidal technology by an independent review for the Government last year, would add just 30p to the average household energy bill per year.

But the Financial Times has reported that Business Secretary Greg Clark is preparing to give the thumbs-down to the clean energy project on cost grounds.

Ahead of the announcement, the Business Department has said that any decision on the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project would have to “represent value for money for the UK taxpayer as well as the consumer”.

In an intervention last week, the Welsh First Minister, Labour’s Carwyn Jones, wrote to Mr Clark and the Prime Minister offering a £200 million investment in a plea not to ditch plans for the tidal lagoon.

Mr Jones called on the Government to promise a contract for the energy delivered by the project on the same terms as that secured by Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant being built in Somerset.

He offered a “substantial” investment by the Welsh Government “if that would enable the project to move forward”.