The building of a tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay has been given planning consent by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. This is the first tidal lagoon project to be examined by the Planning Inspectorate.

If built, turbines in the proposed horseshoe shaped sea wall around Swansea Bay in Wales could, according to the developer, generate around 500GWh per year of low carbon electricity.

Affordability

But before the lagoon becomes a reality, it is still subject to Contract for Difference (CfD) negotiations to establish whether a tidal lagoon at Swansea Bay is affordable and value for money for consumers.

Any decision to offer a CfD for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project will be subject to strict value for money considerations and affordability, and to State aid approval.

Wave reflection concerns

In making her decision, the Secretary of State noted that the proposed development would not significantly impact upon commercial and recreational navigation sailing to and from the port of Neath to the East of the proposed development.

However, she is aware that ABP which runs Swansea Port and the RYA both have concerns about wave reflection from the lagoon wall on vessels entering and leaving the port. As a result, a protective provision had been included in the Development Consent Order.

Mitigation measures

The Secretary of State also noted that the Monkstone Cruising and Sailing Club was concerned about the possible impact on its activities. However, the Examining authority has, in response to RYA concerns on this issue specifically, proposed a requirement for the Order to ensure that dredging of the MCSC marina was considered by the applicant by way of a dredging mitigation and monitoring scheme.

The Secretary of State agreed with the proposal and has included the dredging mitigation and monitoring scheme in the Order as made.

How the lagoon would work

  • A six-mile long seawall loops two miles out to sea from close to the mouth of the River Tawe and Swansea Docks and makes landfall close to Swansea University's new Fabian Way campus to the eastĀ 
  • It would house 16 underwater turbines generating electricity on both the rising and falling tideĀ 

Photo: artist's impression.