Tidal lagoon plans could be delayed
THE tidal lagoon planned for Cardiff could be delayed following the Hendry review into tidal lagoon energy which was published yesterday.
Although former energy minister Charles Hendry was enthusiastic about the role tidal lagoons could play in Britain’s energy future, he recommended a pause after the Swansea Bay one is built to allow time to assess its impact.
He also said that it should be up to the Government to decide where lagoons should be built in the future, and that companies should have to bid to build large-scale lagoons such as the Cardiff one.
Tidal Lagoon Power, the company that wants to build a lagoon at Cardiff, said it was not worried about what Mr Hendry had said.
It has already been working on its plans for the Cardiff lagoon for more than three years, and a spokesman said it still intends to submit its planning application in late 2018 or 2019.
Although it might take several years before the Cardiff site is thrown open to competition, Tidal Lagoon Power is confident it will be more advanced in its plans than any competitor, and will have the benefit of its experience with the Swansea Bay lagoon.
The possibility of a delay before Cardiff lagoon is built has been welcomed by environmental groups such as the Wildlife Trusts Wales and RSPB Cymru, who are concerned about the impact of the lagoon on fish and wildlife numbers.
The Hendry review recognised the possible impact of the Cardiff lagoon on wildlife habitats in the Severn, saying it would be necessary for the developer to “make good the loss of existing habitat for wildlife” by constructing “a very significant amount” of compensatory habitat.
When the Cardiff Bay barrage was built, the developer Cardiff Bay Development Corporation had to build compensatory habitat at Newport Wetlands.
If built, the Cardiff tidal lagoon would be several times larger than the Swansea Bay one.
It would have a generating capacity of three gigawatts, roughly the same as the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C and enough to power every home in Wales.
It would cost about £8bn to build and would require a subsidy which would be paid for from electricity bills. But according to the Hendry review that subsidy would add less than 50p a year to household bills over 60 years.
More than 3,000 construction workers would be needed to build the lagoon, and Tidal Lagoon Power claims it could add £2bn to the Welsh economy during construction.