Swansea Bay tidal lagoon development group files official applications

Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

Energy development group Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd. has reached a significant step in the development of a 320 MW project by submitting a Development Consent Order to United Kingdom authorities.

The 5,000-page application -- submitted under the UK's Planning Act of 2008 -- details what would be the largest tidal power plant in the world, according to TLP.

The project would include a 9.5-kilometer-long sea wall that would be dotted with hydro turbines along its length. Rising and falling tides would provide the kinetic motion needed for energy production.

The initial tidal lagoon would be located in Swansea Bay, South Wales, though TLP said it ultimately envisions a number of such projects around the UK.

"As we submit our planning application today, we are confident that we are submitting an application that makes economic, environmental and social sense," TLP CEO Mark Shorrock wrote on the company's website. "We want this project to mean something positive to everyone in Swansea Bay."

Shorrock said the company's goal is to supply 10% of the UK's domestic energy by 2023 with five tidal lagoons.

"Tidal lagoons offer renewable energy and nuclear-scale and thus the investment of hundreds of millions of pounds in UK industries and coastal communities," Shorrock said.

TLP said it has spent three years to develop its proof-of-concept project, alongside a consortium that includes Atkins Engineering, Costain Infrastructure, GE, Alstom, Andritz, Voith, Van Oord and Macquarie.

The group said 85% of the 2,400 questionnaires returned during the statutory consultation phase were in favor of the Swansea Bay project.

"Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will harness the natural rhythms of the tides, provide clean energy, restore local biodiversity and create opportunities for local people for generations to come," Shorrock said.

The application will now be reviewed by the Planning Inspectorate before public examination, then reviewed by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

Pending approvals, construction of the Swansea Bay project could begin in 2015, with the first power being generated in 2018.

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