Backers of an ambitious proposal to transform the UK’s power supply will learn in the next few weeks if they are to be given the go-ahead to build tidal lagoons to generate electricity. The green light could see a series of major lagoon projects costing more than £15bn being constructed around the coast of Britain. A tidal lagoon generates electricity from the natural rise and fall of the tides. Rising water flows into dams many miles in length, driving turbines. It is then held back behind walls as the tide recedes before being released to drive the turbines again, generating thousands of megawatts of power. A prototype is set for construction in Swansea Bay in the next few years – but only if it is given the go-ahead by a government review of tidal lagoon technology, chaired by the former energy minister Charles Hendry, which is scheduled to release its recommendation early next month. Green energy experts believe Hendry will give approval, although it remains to be seen if tidal lagoon technology – which was backed strongly by the former chancellor George Osborne in the last Conservative manifesto – finds favour with Theresa May’s administration. Six major projects have been earmarked for construction: a prototype at Swansea Bay; and then full-size lagoons at Cardiff, Newport, Colwyn Bay, Bridgwater Bay and west Cumbria. “The crucial point about tidal lagoons is that their power generation is not subject to the vagaries of the weather. It is predictable. We know exactly when every high tide will be for years ahead. In addition, the lagoons will be built to last – for about 120 years,” Shorrock said.
Guardian 8th Oct 2016 read more »