Post date: Tuesday, 16th April 2013

British world-beating tidal lagoon moves to next stage

 
The proposed Swansea tidal lagoon

An artist's impression of the proposed Swansea tidal lagoon, which would generate enough power for the whole of Swansea for 100 years.

Plans to develop the world's first lagoon project that will generate predictable renewable energy from tidal flow in the UK are moving a step forward with the appointment of a plant design team.

Leading UK consultancy, KGAL, has been appointed as the M&E design specialist for the proposed £650m Swansea Bay tidal lagoon the first of its kind in the world.

The company will provide the detailed design and coordinate all the mechanical and electrical works, forming an integral part of the design team developing the project up to the construction stage.

This 250 MW, privately-funded project will use proven technologies to revolutionise power generation and provide a range of benefits to the local community.

Construction could begin as early as 2015 and, if it goes ahead, the proposed power plant should harness enough energy to generate over 400GW per year, enough to power over 100,000 homes, the population of Swansea, with low carbon, renewable electricity for up to 100 years, by 2017.

Ken Grubb, managing director of KGAL, said: “This project is an exciting and innovative scheme, which will help to stop the lights going out in the UK.

“It offers huge benefits, including enhanced security of supply and reliable, predictable, low-carbon energy, as well as educational, cultural, sports and recreational benefits to the surrounding communities.

“We are well placed in the development design team since we are able to provide the full M&E design spectrum in-house, including gates, turbines, generators, control systems, transmission and connection – part of our 'water-to-wire' strategy.”

Ton Fijen, technical director of TLSB said “We recognised that this was a specialist role and in KGAL we found an adviser that understands the market and also our needs.”

The proposed lagoon is being developed by Tidal Lagoon (Swansea Bay) plc, a company established specifically for the development of this project. The SPV will own and operate the developed Tidal Lagoon asset but will not employ any staff directly; it will instead draw on expertise from specialist consultancy firms and the Tidal Lagoon Power team.

Its CEO is Mark Shorrock, who has been working in the renewable energy industry since 2002, and has developed seven renewable energy plants in solar and wind, including 28MW of solar farms in 2011: a 24% market share.

He says: "Our ambition is for the lagoon to become a major attraction and recreational amenity. We are committed to showcasing tidal range technology and providing a local amenity for opportunities in the arts, education, recreation and culture."

He sees the venture as also offering the opportunity to develop a strong tidal range industry for the UK, centred around Wales.

The team hopes that many of the component parts for the building of the lagoon can be manufactured or fabricated locally.

As part of three local councils’ ambitions to develop Swansea Bay with City Region status, the tidal lagoon could form a cornerstone development for Swansea Bay City Region as regards marine energy, as well as helping to facilitate local regeneration objectives in South Wales and stimulating a vibrant waterfront economy.

To reduce its environmental impact, the wall of the lagoon will be made from locally sourced dredged materials drawn from a relatively thin layer of the sea bed within the lagoon, which are then hydraulically filled into long geotextile casings known as Geotubes®.

A film illustrating the concept of the scheme and how it will look can be viewed at http://www.tidallagoonswanseabay.com/film.aspx.

Story: David Thorpe, News Editor

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