Plan submitted for tidal energy project in Swansea Bay
SWANSEA Bay could become home to a pioneering power generating tidal wall within five years.
Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay is hoping to receive consent for its scheme from the secretary of state for energy by the end of 2014.
If the £550 million scheme is approved it could see 250 jobs created in the construction phase which its backers believe could be completed by 2017.
The project would rely entirely on private funds and Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay development director Eva Bishop said the scheme, which would be a world first, could be realised using low risk technology.
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She said: "We don't want to have to rely on Government funding.
"We believe there are sufficient investors out there who are interested in this development."
The tidal lagoon would have a lifetime of around 100 years and create a 250 megawatt tidal power plant capable of generating electricity 16 hours a day using ebb and flow tides.
A tidal lagoon works by generating electricity when there is a difference in water levels between the inside and outside of the lagoon.
This difference can be created by closing the turbine passage at high and low water.
The project's development director admitted it would be visible to a height of around three metres at high tide and around 12 metres at low water.
She added: "No development is without its impacts.
"We have engaged in a scoping process work with the Countryside Council for Wales and the Environment Agency."
Environmental issues related to the project could range from sand movements and water quality to the impact on fish and birds, terrestrial ecology and archeology.
The first public exhibitions on the tidal lagoon are likely to start in spring next year.
Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay Limited, which is driving the scheme, is also considering the potential for sports use connected with the project which could see the tidal wall used to accommodate a cycle path and a visitor centre.
The company has already completed 18 months' feasibility work which involved speaking to more than 100 local and national stakeholders.
An initial Environmental Impact Assessment scoping report was submitted to the Government's Planning Inspectorate on Monday, October 15.
A spokeswoman for the tidal lagoon proposed for Swansea Bay said: "This is a significant opportunity for Wales to take the lead in the tidal industry for the UK as we work towards driving a critical change in the UK's energy mix with low cost, low carbon electricity sources that are sustainable long term."
It is estimated the scheme will save more than 200,000 tonnes of C02 and generate enough electricity for 107,000 homes in the Swansea area.
Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay Limited chose the area as it has shallow water and a large tidal range.
The lagoon will feature a sand core breakwater and hydro turbines mounted in concrete caissons.