Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon facing delays

Construction work on the world’s first tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay has been pushed back a year, prompting fears about the project’s future.

Work was due to start on the £1bn project next year (2016), but in a statement Tidal Lagoon Power said a new timetable has been agreed with contractors and they will be ready to build ‘once the remaining permissions have been secured and financial close with investors is achieved’.  

‘Our aim is to then start the initial civil works on site in autumn 2016 in order that the marine works can start in spring 2017.  As a result, target power on moves to 2021,” said the statement.

Originally, the 320MW tidal lagoon project was due to start generating power in 2019/20.

Discussions between the Treasury and Tidal Lagoon Power over the potential subsidies are thought to be still ongoing.

Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Stephen Black said he was concerned that “the UK Government are dragging their heels on making a decision over how much they will pay for the electricity”. 

“The danger now is that the project will lose momentum and that investors will take their money elsewhere,” said Mr Black.

“The question is whether this dragging of heels means that UK Government may not be prepared to pay the price the company needs to make the project viable. I am concerned that the Government’s lack of commitment to the lagoon and to renewable energy generally could kill it off completely.”

And local Labour MP Stephen Kinnock said he was “greatly disappointed to hear of these potential delays”. 

“I strongly urge the Government to give the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon its fullest support, and to commit to working with them to ensure it opens on schedule as planned,” said Mr Kinnock.

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues