The developer of a groundbreaking £1.3bn tidal power scheme has cancelled a contract for a Chinese company to build a sea wall, in a setback to Beijing’s infrastructure ambitions in the UK. State-owned China Harbour Engineering Company had been the preferred bidder for marine works on the Swansea Bay Tidal project, a six-mile horseshoe-shaped sea wall containing turbines that could eventually power 120,000 homes. But the special purpose vehicle set up by Mark Shorrock, an entrepreneur, to deliver the renewable energy scheme said it had decided it could find a cheaper supplier and would start a new tender process soon. George Osborne, the chancellor, has been enthusiastically seeking Chinese investment in UK infrastructure because of their willingness to take construction risk, and because they have deployed billions of renminbi in projects worldwide.Backers of the scheme, in which tidal movements would power the turbines, also think they could build five other cheaper lagoons throughout the UK, which could ultimately provide 8 per cent of the country’s electricity for 120 years, at a cost of £30bn-40bn.The future of the plan to generate electricity from the Swansea Bay lagoon is waiting on a six-month review of the tidal lagoon sector, due to report in the Autumn. Mr Shorrock, chief executive of the Tidal Lagoon Power vehicle, said the government review “demonstrates that this opportunity is being taken seriously”. But work in Swansea is not now expected to begin until late next year assuming that the government agrees a financial package.
FT 25th May 2016 read more »