Tidal Lagoon Seeks to Build $1.2 Billion U.K. Marine Power Plant

Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd. applied for consent for a $1.2 billion 320-megawatt tidal plant that could provide power to more than 120,000 U.K. homes for a century.

The company plans to build the 9.5 kilometer (6 mile) tidal facility across Swansea Bay in Wales, it said today in an e-mailed statement. Construction would start in the first half of 2015, with generation from 2018. It would cost from 750 million pounds ($1.2 billion) to 850 million pounds to build, it said.

“Our intention is to supply 10 percent of the U.K.’s domestic electricity by building at least five full-scale tidal lagoons in U.K. waters by 2023, before the U.K. sees any generation from new nuclear,” said Mike Shorrock, chief executive officer of Cheltenham-based Tidal Lagoon Power.

“Economies of scale bring immediate advantage,” he said. “A second lagoon will require a lower level of support than offshore wind” and a third is competitive with new nuclear.

Tidal lagoons are areas of water separated from the rest of the sea. In a tidal power plant water is trapped and released from the lagoon through turbines, considered to be less damaging to the environment than tidal barrages. The U.K. last year rejected plans for a barrage across the Severn River.

The company has been developing and proving its technology for three years alongside businesses such as Alstom SA, Andritz AG and General Electric Co., it said in the statement.

Currently there are no commercial-scale marine energy projects operating as developers test and scale-up devices.

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