EARLY GO-AHEAD URGED FOR CARDIFF/ PENARTH TIDAL LAGOON

The 90 turbines of the Tidal Lagoon would be nearer Penarth than anywhere else

The 90 turbines of the Tidal Lagoon would be nearer Penarth than anywhere else

A UK Government-commissioned independent review of Tidal Power development has backed a start on the proposed small-scale “pathfinder” £1.3bn tidal lagoon in  Swansea Bay – with Penarth/Cardiff next in line.

If Swansea is successful there would be then a prompt start on the far-larger Penarth/Cardiff power tidal  lagoon.[ PDN is using the term  “Penarth/Cardiff” because the southern wall of the lagoon would be built out to sea in line with Penarth Pier.] 

The UK Government commissioned report opn Tidal Lagoons

The UK Government commissioned report opn Tidal Lagoons

The independent  report by Charles Hendry says tidal power will make  “strong contribution” to the UK’s energy supply –  and moving ahead with Swansea will be what he calls a “no-regrets policy” .

If Swansea is satisfactory, a further 5 additional tidal lagoons would be developed at Penarth/Cardiff, Newport, West Cumbria, Colwyn Bay and Bridgwater Bay  – with the plans for Penarth/ Cardiff being the most advanced of the five.

The Penarth/Cardiff  tidal lagoon at Cardiff would deliver “around 5.5 TWh” of electricity [ TWh = Tera Watt Hour , One terawatt hour is equal to a sustained power of approximately 114 megawatts for a period of one year.]

The  report also suggests the scheme would “offer improved flood protection for the area as well as opportunities for sports and nature conservation”.  The report says the developer with submit  plans for the consent to build the Penarth/Cardiff Lagoon  next year – in 2018.

The report anticipates that the Penarth/Cardiff lagoon could create 11,482 new jobs

But there are also snags :-

WILDLIFE :

Seagulls searching for worms in the mud

Seagulls searching for worms in the mud

The report admits that no tidal lagoons have yet been built anywhere in the world and therefore it is “not possible to give an absolutely factual assessment of full life-cycle of environmental consequences” .  It says that the Severn Tidal Power Feasibility Study highlighted a consensus that there are “challenging environmental issues to be overcome if tidal power generation of any kind is to be deployed.”

Mr Hendry says that developers of tidal lagoon sites will have to “make good the loss of existing habitat for wildlife in order to comply with the Habitats and Birds Directives”  and says that the Penarth/Tidal Lagoon would “require a very significant amount of such “compensatory habitat’”.

The extensive tidal mudflats off Penarth would be within the lagoon and permanently undwerwater

The extensive tidal mudflats off Penarth would be within the lagoon and permanently underwater

Wildlife Trusts told Mr Hendry that “We have serious concerns that there are plans for a potential three lagoons in the Severn Estuary;”  The report says it is likely that the Penarth/Cardiff lagoon “would result in significant impacts to the site and be difficult to consent in a manner compatible with the Habitats and Birds Directives”

SHIPPING:

The huge natural rise and fall of the tides off Penarth might be reduced by the presence of a number of tidal lagoons

The huge natural rise and fall of the tides off Penarth might be reduced by the presence of a number of tidal lagoons

Because four of the proposed new power-generating tidal lagoons will be in the Severn Estuary, there could be what are described as “cumulative consequences”  and a potential “build-up of ecological impacts” .

Mr Hendry heard evidence that ” tidal lagoons in proximity to each other could produce less electricity as a result of complex negative hydrodynamic interactions.” – and that the “hydrodynamic effects of tidal lagoons could still be felt many tens of miles out to sea.”

Passing ships off Penarth

Passing ships off Penarth. The report says the lagoons could create “complex hydrodynamic interactions”

As far as the Severn Estuary itself is concerned Mr Hendry says ” There is inevitably a point where the retention of such significant volumes of water will have a detrimental impact on the interests of other legitimate users of the estuary, in particular the ports, where their business requires them to be able to make full use of the tides (especially high tides) for shipping movements.”

POWER PRICES :

The Hinkley Point Nuclear power station complex in Somerset - as seen from Penarth.

The Hinkley Point Nuclear power station complex in Somerset – as seen from Penarth. Power from the Penarth/Cardiff Power lagoon would be far more expensive than nuclear power from Hinkley Point

To be viable. the Penarth/Cardiff Lagoon will require an electricity “Strike Price” in its first operating year  in a range of: £105-£120 per Mega Watt hour . [PDN Note: This is far higher than the “strike price” offered for the new  Hinkley Point nuclear power station which is at £92.50 per Mega Watt hour]

The report recommends that the Swansea Lagoon “pathfinder project ” should be “commissioned and be operational for a reasonable period before financial close is reached on the first larger-scale project .” [which would be the Penarth/Cardiff lagoon].

 

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8 Responses to EARLY GO-AHEAD URGED FOR CARDIFF/ PENARTH TIDAL LAGOON

  1. Chris David says:

    It seems to me that if the environmental and wildlife issues can be properly addressed these could be exiting schemes. There appear to be serious issues, witness the forecast affect on migratory fish into rivers around Swansea, However I’m not a professional in this field and would love to learn. We have I believe some professionals in this field who read PDN. Perhaps they could open a debate here on an these developments that could have a massive impact on Penarth!.

  2. Ford Prefect says:

    It’s very exciting. Aberthaw is currently the dirtiest power station in the UK, and the prevailing south westerly winds mean us in Penarth are breathing the muck from it every day. The sooner we push ahead with all of these new schemes and shut down the coal and gas stations the better!

  3. Paul says:

    “If Swansea is successful there would be then a prompt start on the far-larger Penarth/Cardiff power tidal lagoon”
    From: http://www.tidallagoonpower.com/projects/swansea-bay/
    “Our aim is to start on site in 2018. Construction of the entire project will take four years, with first power generated in year three.”
    They haven’t even started that one, now there lookin for the next one.
    Finish what u started first!

  4. Dan Potts says:

    It will take them years to obtain the funding, then there will be endless arguments about where the electricity pylons are going so unfortunately, don’t hold your breath on this one !

  5. Frank Evans says:

    The best thing about these schemes is with risings levels they will generate even more power!!
    Time to increase the wattage on my halogens again.

  6. Sadlab says:

    Any prices given for nuclear power fails to omit the Billions needed for a yet to be found disposal solution to the mountains of highly radioactive waste still around and to be created for thousands of years to come – so in reality are probably at least double the quoted amount.
    At a worst case scenario the tidal lagoons could be dismantled quicker than it takes to build them and any ecological systems affected reinstated or compensated for. I believe the RSPB are happy withe the proposed Cardiff/Penarth lagoon an they are some of the best ecologists in the country if not the world and look into the eco-system as a whole not just birds.

  7. There will be a major impact on shipping, leisure sailing, fishing and potential noise from the huge number of generators on-site. We need to ask (in due course), what benefits would come to Penarth, in return for the inconvenience and nuisance over several years. Lower energy costs are very unlikely.

  8. Max Wallis says:

    Yes, major impacts on boating and fish with designing intake and discharge close to the access lane to the Barrage and Cdf dock. The planning application is already underway https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/wales/tidal-lagoon-cardiff/. It’s been agreed that they cannot provide compensatory habitat in terms of mudflats and bird feeding area, so Hendry’s statement is already out-dated and the RSPB are surely not “happy”. It’s all too premature, before they know how the Swansea “pathfinder project” works out.

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