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INDUSTRY UPDATE


DELIVERING AFFORDABLE ELECTRICITY IN THE LONG TERM


Perhaps in a more measured and cautious view Ben Warren, Head of Environmental and Energy Finance at Ernst & Young commented: “Any support for the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project appears, on the face of it, to be a rare piece of positive news for the UK’s renewables sector.


“Whether the UK Government is adopting a strategy of fostering a more sustainable energy industry by supporting local jobs remains to be seen, both by the final decision but, more significantly, by the purchase price the Government will agree to pay for the power produced. “Currently, truly affordable clean energy from offshore wind and solar is being left to fend for itself while the benefits of subsidy are enjoyed by new nuclear and even fossil fuels. “Should Swansea Bay get the go ahead it remains to be seen whether tidal energy can deliver affordable electricity in the longer-term. For now we wait to see what price the Government is prepared to pay Swansea Bay for its power, and what risks it is prepared to take on board to ensure this ambitious project gets realised.”


A PATHFINDER PROJECT


“Tidal lagoons are a brilliant way for Britain to diversify its energy mix and keep the lights on. They will also create a whole new industry and thousands of jobs as well.”


UNEQUIVOCAL CONCLUSION


Rémi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe added: “The UK government has analysed tidal lagoons every which way and the conclusions are unequivocal. Tidal lagoons have a major role to play in providing UK households and businesses with reliable, clean and affordable electricity. It is time to give Swansea Bay the go-ahead and support the development of a new industry with the potential of creating thousands of jobs in the UK and across Europe.”


Dr Simon Harrison, Chair of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Energy Panel, concluded on a more positive note: “The recommendation to support the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is welcome news from an electricity system perspective.


“Although it may seem relatively expensive at first, it’s important to remember that this is a pathfinder project which, when applied at greater scale in other locations, promises long term cost competitive and predictable renewable energy, and a potentially exportable technology.


“While, there are no major underlying concerns over technical viability there are many issues to explore through Swansea Bay, both technical and environmental, and the learning from this project will be essential in shaping future developments and in determining their viability.


“Tidal energy projects produce predictable electricity outputs every day, but ones that vary with the timing of the tides. This has the potential to make a valuable contribution to the electricity system as we move more to a smart system where consumers will be able to respond to price signals by adjusting the timing of some of their demand, such as when they charge their electric car. Rapid recent and continuing developments in the cost of storage will also facilitate the use of this type of renewable energy source, given the daily certainty of its output. “Tidal lagoons are large and complex construction projects, but if Swansea Bay performs well we might expect to see large scale contributions to the UK’s electricity from tidal sources by the late 2020s or 2030s.”


LAGOONS: THE FUTURE


It is the intention to follow Swansea Bay with five full-scale lagoons. Early feasibility studies are already underway in a number of locations throughout the UK with survey work and data gathering having begun to inform proposals, support engineering designs and act as a foundation for environmental assessments.


Continuing to work in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders to achieve an optimal balance between power output, economic profile, environmental sensitivity and social acceptance. If successful, they can deliver 8% of the UK’s electricity demand for 120 years.


DUNCAN MCGILVRAY (WITH VALUABLE INFORMATION FROM MANY PREVIOUS CONTRIBUTORS)


EDITOR WAVE & TIDAL ENERGY NEWORK


SCAN/CLICK


MORE INFO www.wavetidalenergynetwork.co.uk PAGE 05


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