Thursday, September 14, 2017

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon. Where now?

I have always supported the idea of using tidal power to generate energy. Since it was first proposed, I have supported the idea of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon. I'd love to see us run with this scheme - if it's viable. Now that's a very big 'if'. Despite supporting the idea, I've never felt able to completely commit to it. I've been surprised by how many are calling for the Govt to run with this scheme, no matter what the cost. Worryingly, most of the narrative around the project has involved criticism of the Govt for not agreeing to quarentee to buy the power produced by the SB Tidal Lagoon at the same price it will pay for that produced by nuclear power plants, but for nearly three times as long - which makes it much much more expensive. I know that the Hendry Report, commissioned by the Govt backed the scheme. Didn't expect anything else from Charles Hendry from the moment he was given the task of assessing it. The responsible Secretary of State, Greg Clarke is taking his time assessing the project. Quite right too. He's a very good Minister.  My guess is that the advice he is receiving from independent assessors is not flashing up 'Green'. So we will have to wait and see.

There is nothing at all new in this post so far. But the comments coming from Dale Vince, the founder and still owner (I think) of Ecotricity in a letter to Greg Clarke, reported on the BBC today is very significant. Dale Vince knows what he's talking about. Despite being hugely supportive of renewable energy, including tidal power, be believes that a lagoon not attached to the land will create energy at around a quarter of the price. And be more environmentally friendly. If it had been someone else saying this, it would just be an opinion, alongside other opinions. But it's the opinion of a man who knows. The Welsh Affairs Select Committee has just decided to take evidence and prepare a report on tidal lagoons. I do hope Dale Vince is invited to share his thoughts with us as part of that.

1 comment:

Frank Little said...

If Private Eye is to be believed, there is a business and personal rivalry between the proprietor of Ecotricity and the promoter of the tidal barrage who is the husband of the chief executive of Good Energy.