Plans for a pioneering 320MW tidal power lagoon in Swansea Bay, Wales, have been backed by a government-commissioned report.

When ministers in 2016 year ordered a review to see if the technology could provide affordable green energy to the UK, it was widely seen as a way to kill off an ambitious project at Swansea proposed by Tidal Lagoon Power.

But the independent review by former energy minister Charles Hendry is broadly positive towards the £1.3bn prototype plan, concluding that tidal lagoons would help deliver security of supply; they would assist in delivering the UK’s decarbonisation commitments; and they would bring real and substantial opportunities for the UK supply chain.

“Most importantly, it is clear that tidal lagoons at scale could deliver low carbon power in a way that is very competitive with other low carbon sources,” Hendry said in a statement.

The report makes over 30 recommendations for delivering a tidal lagoon auditory bringing maximum benefit to the UK, including:

• An allocation by a competitive tender process for large scale tidal lagoons;

• Informing the consenting process with a National Policy Statement for tidal lagoons similar to Nuclear new build, where specific sites are designated by the Government as being suitable for development;

• The establishment of a new body (Tidal Power Authority) at arms-length from Government with the goal to maximise UK advantage from a tidal lagoon programme.

The Swansea Bay scheme is seen as a trial for potentially five major plants around the country, at Cardiff, Newport, Colwyn Bay in north Wales, the Cumbrian coast and Bridgwater Bay in Somerset. Together they could provide about a tenth of the UK’s electricity needs and help meet carbon targets.

Hendry has apparently visited communities which would potentially be involved in or affected by the lagoons, which he said had attracted “high expectations”. Tidal Lagoon Power has spent £35m on the Swansea project, which would see a six mile U-shaped sea wall built out into the bay to bring the incoming and outgoing tide through 16 turbines.

Commenting on the review, Mark Shorrock of Tidal Lagoon Power said: “With the publication of the Hendry Review we’ve hit ‘peak consensus. Home-grown power from the tides, starting at Swansea Bay, is something we can all agree on: communities and investors, conservationists and industrialists, politicians of all persuasions and now an independent government review, all singing from the same hymn sheet.

“Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is a vision of how Great Britain can replace part of our ageing power station fleet with low cost, reliable power that also revitalises our industrial heartlands and coastal communities.

“The Hendry Review has set the final piece of the jigsaw in place: a watershed moment for British energy, British manufacturing, British productivity and our coastal communities.  We look forward to working with Ministers and Officials to bring this new industry to life.”

Howard Bassford, of DLA Piper who has been advising Tidal Lagoon Power on the project, added: "The positive recommendation of the Hendry review reinforces the favourable decision of the Secretary of State to grant development consent for Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay.  This means that the components are being steadily assembled for an important new source of dependable renewable energy.  Hopefully the Government will now accept the recommendation of Charles Hendry; this is a hugely exciting and innovative scheme to be involved in."


To view the full report, click here