World's first tidal energy project at Swansea Bay gets planning clearance

A £1-billion project to generate green energy from the world's first "tidal lagoon" in Swansea Bay has received planning consent from the UK energy secretary Amber Rudd.

 
As the water from the lagoon moves through the blades of the turbine, the turbine spins and creates electricity  
The development involves the building of a six-mile horseshoe-shaped seawall with turbines for harnessing the power of the tides, and the project could be operational by 2018.

The final clearance now hinged on the government agreeing to a deal with the project's developers, Tidal Lagoon Power, under which  consumers across the UK would pay the company subsidies for the electricity it generated.

Ministers were discussing a subsidy contract and the project had been hailed by David Cameron and George Osborne, who named it as part of the National Infrastructure Plan last year.

However, according to critics, the Swansea scheme could be "appalling value for money" and result in households paying a higher price for electricity than from any other major green project to date.

Tidal Lagoon Power hoped the project would be the first in a series of tidal electricity schemes around the UK's shores and was already working on plans for a second, much larger lagoon off the coast of Cardiff.

Lord Bourne, the energy minister, said, ''We need more clean and home-grown sources of energy, which will help to reduce our reliance on foreign fossil fuels. Low carbon energy projects like the tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay could bring investment, support local jobs and help contribute to the Welsh economy and Swansea area.''

According to supporters of the project the tidal lagoon could make Swansea Wales' first zero carbon city according to backers.

According to Pippa Bartolotti, leader of Wales Green Party, the city would become carbon neutral as a result.

She further held out the prospect of Swansea emerging as an ''environmental tourism'' destination.

However there were warnings of its impact on wildlife. Some campaigners caution that the lagoon could affect the area's harbour porpoises and migratory fish.