Wales politics

Swansea tidal lagoon could deliver 'global expertise'

Artist's impression of the lagoon across Swansea Bay Image copyright TLP
Image caption The UK could become the global centre for lagoon technology, Welsh Conservatives say

Backing for a tidal lagoon in Swansea could "unleash an economic revolution", the Welsh Conservatives have said.

They have urged party colleagues in the UK government to give the energy project the go-ahead amid expectations ministers are about to pull the plug.

Ministers have said the £1.3bn scheme must prove it is value for money.

South Wales West AM Suzy Davies said real value for money would be delivered as the UK could become the "undisputed" global centre for expertise.

The project was backed in January 2017 by an independent review set up by the UK government, but ministers have not yet approved it, warning that the energy produced would cost a lot more than nuclear power.

Mrs Davies claimed tidal lagoon power was no longer set to be so expensive, and would be a major boost to the Welsh economy.

"The tidal lagoon is an opportunity to unleash an economic revolution in Wales, on a scale not seen since the regeneration of Cardiff Bay," she said.

Image caption Suzy Davies says the lagoon has "huge local support" and the backing of all parties in Wales

"It's an innovative long-term source of low carbon energy, built in Wales and supported by a largely UK-based supply chain - including Welsh steel.

"If that doesn't represent value for money, I'm not sure what does, although it's worth noting that the project is now being proposed on the same terms as Hinkley Point," Mrs Davies added, referring to a new nuclear power station in Somerset.

"In any case, the real value for money comes in being the first - with the UK becoming the undisputed global centre for lagoon expertise and manufacturing.

"Ultimately, this scheme holds great promise to be the most reliable and resilient source of green energy available.

"It has huge local support and all parties in Wales have been supportive of this ambitious scheme since day one."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWatch Tidal Lagoon Power's video of how the turbines would work

Tidal lagoon: The timeline

2003: Plans first emerge for a £30m tidal power project in Swansea Bay from a green energy charity

2006: Tidal Electric Ltd prepares a scoping report for a lagoon to take the project on but it is put on hold

2012: Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP) unveils its ambition to develop a breakwater and power generation

2013: TLP starts developing its plans

2014: Plans submitted to Planning Inspectorate with a cost of £850m

2015: Proposals get backing of UK government, subject to subsidy agreement - hope it could be operational by 2018

2016: Report warns of impact on fish and Charles Hendry is appointed to lead independent review into £1.3bn lagoon's viability

2017: Hendry review backs the lagoon as a "no regrets" option but the UK government is still to decide

2018: Delays, mostly believed to be over arguments over value for money. Welsh Government also offers substantial investment

Earlier in June, First Minister Carwyn Jones offered £200m from the Welsh Government to help get the lagoon built.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said he would "really like" the project to go ahead, but warned that the UK government was "still looking at the numbers".

Meanwhile Energy Minister Claire Perry will be questioned about the lagoon on Monday by MPs on the business and Welsh affairs committees, who will ask why the UK government is taking so long to make a decision.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites