UK Government ambivalent over Swansea tidal lagoon

The Guardian reports, 10th February 2016: The future of a revolutionary plan to generate electricity from a lagoon in Swansea Bay has been thrown into further doubt after the UK government unveiled plans for a six-month review of the wider tidal power sector.

The promoters of the £1bn plan, Tidal Lagoon Power, said it welcomed any extra focus on this type of renewable energy but needed a final decision from ministers on its south Wales project within six weeks.

The government has been in negotiations with Tidal Lagoon Power for more than a year and has repeatedly failed to meet company expectations about when it would agree a final subsidy necessary to make the project commercial.

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokeswoman said talks would continue with Tidal Lagoon Power but there would be no final decision on Swansea Bay aid till the review ended in the autumn.

The move followed comments by David Cameron that his enthusiasm for Swansea Bay had been “reduced” over affordability issues despite the scheme being contained within the Conservative party’s election manifesto.

Critics said the review was another disastrous setback but Tidal Lagoon Power put a brave face on the announcement saying it was a “clear signal” that ministers could see the advantage of this innovative technology.

But the company is sticking to its view that Swansea Bay needs agreement on subsidies within four to six weeks regardless of the wider review.

A spokesman for the company said it would be a waste of time to have a review without a prototype at Swansea Bay going ahead in the meantime. He declined to say whether the scheme would be shelved if the six-week deadline was not met.

Tim Farron, the Lib Dem leader, said he feared the government planned to dump the scheme.

Source: The Guardian, 10th February 2016. For the full story, see www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/10/swansea-tidal-energy-scheme-faces-disastrous-setback-from-government-review


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