Letter Nicholas Stern: You reported that the government is planning to reject the Swansea Bay tidal power lagoon because it is considered too expensive. The government has not yet announced its decision but it should, in any case, first publish its internal economic analysis of the proposed scheme so that its rigour and robustness can be checked. I have offered, as a former chief economist of the World Bank and head of the UK Government Economic Service, to have a constructive look at the analytical work. That offer stands; the analysis should be in the public domain and subject to scrutiny before a decision is taken. Has it, for instance, fully taken into account the substantial potential benefits to the population in terms of recreation and health? Has the analysis properly included its important role as a prototype, which will lead to increased learning and reduced costs for subsequent schemes? Has it considered that Swansea Bay could and should lead to a Cardiff lagoon scheme, which would be highly competitive with other sources of energy? Has it taken into account the tremendous potential for exports from building UK expertise and examples in this area? How well does it incorporate the careful and favourable analysis of the independent Hendry report on tidal lagoons which was published last year? Countries around the world are closely following the UK’s decision on tidal power. Let us hope we do not convey the impression that the government uses narrow and misleading economic analyses in considering strategic decisions of this kind and ignores the costs and benefits of being world leaders in the development of low-carbon energy technologies.
Guardian 10th June 2018 read more »