Tidal Lagoon Power Executive Speaks to The Forum

Tidal Lagoon Power Executive Speaks to The Forum

Tidal lagoons such as Swansea Bay will bring significant ‘blue tourism’ benefits as well as its alternative energy, a senior executive behind the scheme told an audience of business people.

Graham Hillier, Managing Director of Development, Tidal Lagoon Power, said the water within the breakwaters would enable enhanced sailing and other water sport experiences, while marine aquaculture such as oyster farming could also emerge.

Speaking to The Forum business network group at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Graham said the benefits of the lagoons would be extensive and long.

“We are talking about a whole ecosystem with a 120-year legacy replacing historical industries, and Swansea would be just the start. We envisage a fleet of lagoons around the UK, and also potential for sites in France, India, Canada and Mexico.”

The company is waiting for the go ahead for the Swansea Bay project from the Westminster Government following the publication of the Hendry Review into the feasibility and practicality of tidal lagoon energy in the UK.

Subject to its approval, Graham said work on other lagoons, especially Cardiff, would follow, with a possible start date for Cardiff by the mid to late 2020s.

The Cardiff project would dwarf the Swansea Bay lagoon, with a breakwater of 22 kilometres, and 60-90 turbines generating eight to ten times the energy which would be produced at Swansea – enough to power every home in Wales.

“We have to get Swansea going first, and learn from that experience to enable us to deliver the bigger schemes.  It would be foolish to embark on a scheme the size of Cardiff first,” said Graham.

He said Tidal Lagoon was talking to the likes of Crossrail, and Horizon, the company behind the new nuclear plant at Wylfa, sharing ideas and best practise on issues such as skills and training for large infrastructure projects.

“The logistics involved in these projects are enormous, which is why  Swansea Bay is so important as a pathfinder, effectively giving birth to a supply chain for future tidal lagoons.”

The Forum is a business networking group whose partners are Cardiff Metropolitan University, Kilsby Williams, Berry Smith, Santander, and Effective Communication.