|Plan of the proposed Tidal Lagoon Power Station at Swansea|
Generating Electricity From The Sea
Many of us saw the BBC News item a few weeks ago when the proposed Tidal Lagoon Power project in Swansea Bay was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. Pembrokeshire South East Energy Group was delighted to welcome Owain Morris representing the company to their March meeting to give them greater insight into the proposed scheme.
He started by pointing out that the UK's renewable energy output is currently only 4%. Across Europe only Malta and Luxembourg produce less. This despite the Climate Change Act of 2008 (passed with cross party support) which committed the UK to producing 20% of its electricity from renewables by 2020 – later reduced to 15%. We are an Island Nation and the sea provides a huge resource.
The lagoon project needs shallow water and a large tidal range. The Severn Estuary has the second highest tidal range in the world – 7 to 9 metres. Electricity will be generated for 14 hours each day across both the ebb and flow tides. This will produce enough electricity to power 121,000 homes for the next 120 years and will save 216,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum. The firm plans to develop a further 4 sites around the coast of Britain generating electricity 24 hours a day. It then expects to export their expertise aiming at 50 similar lagoons around the world.
The pre-planning work includes many aspects including Environmental Impact Assessment, hydrodynamic modelling, turbine design, grid connection and leasing and easements. Public Engagement included a great deal of consultation and 85.8% of those surveyed voted in favour.
There will be 16 turbines each one around 7 metres in diameter. These will rotated slowly thus allowing fish and other sea creatures to pass safely through.
The development will be created by a 9.5 kilometre causeway which will be formed by using sand from the site placed in geotubes, topped with varying sized boulders taken for Cornwall coastal quarries. This will give be a circular walk/cycle track. There will be an offshore building providing a visitor centre. There will be a Landward Urban Park and Ecological Park.
The lagoon will be used for sailing, swimming and it is anticipated that the whole site will be used for National and International competitions. It is also expected that oysters could be grown there.
A project this size will create 5,220 new jobs during construction with 60 longterm jobs. There are plans to use local supply chains – building on South Wales expertise. When further developments go ahead the South Wales skills base will have the expertise to expand.
After a number of questions Owain was thanked for deepening the Group's understanding of the project and as a Group they were delighted at this innovative scheme as they understand the urgent need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
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