Investors could walk away from Swansea tidal lagoon, MP warns

Junior minister refuses to give firm date for government decision.

There is a “real risk” that investors in the proposed Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will walk away from the project unless the government backs it “very soon”, a leading MP has warned.

In January this year, former energy minister Charles Hendy recommended approval of the £1.3 billion project after being asked to review it for the government.

However ministers have yet to decide on whether to approve the 3.2MW project, which received a fillip today (11 September) when its backer Tidal Lagoon Power announced that it has secured a connection to the National Grid.

Labour MP Rachel Reeves, who was recently elected chair of the BEIS (business, energy and industrial strategy) select committee, asked in the House of Commons last week when the government intends to respond to the Hendry review.

She said: “The issue of the tidal lagoon does need a response from the government. It is eight months since the review.

“There is a very real risk that the investors that are needed to fund the project will walk away unless a decision is made very soon by the government.”

But responding to Reeves’ question, junior Wales minister Guto Bebb refused to give a firm date.

He said: “Although the Hendry review was supportive of a tidal lagoon in Swansea, no real financial issues were dealt with in that report. It is necessary that we make the right decision not just in terms of the concept of a tidal lagoon in Swansea, but for the energy price that the consumer will pay and for the taxpayer.”

“Such decisions must be right in relation to the costs for the taxpayer and the energy consumer. We will ensure that the decision, when it is made, takes all issues into account, and that it is right for the energy consumer and the people of Wales.”

The proposed Cardiff tidal lagoon project would consist of a 20.5km breakwater wall, housing up to 108 turbines. 

Author: David Blackman, policy correspondent, Utility Week,
Channel: Operations & Assets , Policy & Regulation
Tags: National Grid , Parliament of the United Kingdom , UK , Government and NGOs

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