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Wave power: the 120-year lagoon project set to make 8% of UK energy

Harnessing the sea with six giant tidal lagoons around the UK would generate enough electricity to power eight million homes – while also contributing £372bn to the country’s GDP over their 120-year lifetime.

The harbour-type structures, which close off a tidal sea area, would incorporate hydro turbines through which the sea moves to generate electricity.

Turbines would be mounted inside concrete housings and be permanently submerged so the end view is of a ring-shaped harbour wall with one section of concrete casing.

It has been claimed that one of the proposed lagoons in Swansea, Wales, would be have a 320MW nominal rated capacity, averaging 14 hours of generation every day. This is an improvement over wind farms, which typically only generate energy 40% of the time.

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The Swansea lagoon is expected to receive planning and marine licence decisions in the early part of 2015, with construction starting a few months afterwards.

The people behind the plans think the lagoon could provide a lot more than just energy.

They believe the lagoon would bring tourists to the area as well as educating people about renewable power and providing a social area for sports. It would also help to cut carbon emissions.

It is hoped that all six tidal lagoon power plants could be completed by 2027 – just 13 years away.

Based on the figures, from a report by the Centre for Economic and Business Research, the proposed lagoons would have a colossal impact on the UK economy.

The report says there would be a £3.1bn contribution, each year, to the UK GDP for every year of the 120 year design life.

There would be the creation of sustaining 35,800 jobs on average and up to 70,000 jobs at its peak – over the twelve year investment period leading up to the construction.

Mark Shorrock, CEO of Tidal Lagoon Power, said the benefits would be wide reaching.

He said: “The UK will soon decide whether or not to embrace tidal lagoon infrastructure.

“Having analysed all of the costs and all of the savings associated with this decision, this study clearly demonstrates that the annual benefits to the national economy would be enormous, immediate and long-lived.”

“To realise this opportunity in full, we will have to marry economic benefit with environmental sensitivity and social acceptance.

“Our proposals for Swansea Bay have proved that this can be done and establish a blueprint for an infrastructure roll-out that we now know could account for ten percent or more of UK growth.”


Images courtesy of Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay.


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