Swansea Bay tidal lagoon could be switched on in 2017
A MASSIVE project which could harness the power of the tides in Swansea Bay has won praise from councillors.
The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is a £650 million investment.
It would be the first of its kind in the world and would create enough energy for 107,000 homes.
The lagoon would have bi-directional turbines which would generate electricity 16 hours a day. That power would be taken to a National Grid sub-station in Baglan through underground cables.
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It could also be educational and a tourist attraction, host sports events such as triathlons, feature art installation and be home to oysters, kelp and muscles.
A visitors' centre is also in the proposed for the end of the lagoon wall, but investigations are continuing as to wether that would be viable.
If given the go-ahead it could be switched on in 2017.
Robert Francis Davies, chairman of Swansea's development management and control committee, said it was the most exciting project he had seen before the council in his career.
He said: "This could be a first in the world for Swansea. We had the first railway and we could have the first tidal lagoon as well. I think people will be blown away by it."
There are also plans for energy tariffs for people living in the area, and possible local share schemes. The organisation behind the scheme Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay Ltd intends to submit an application to the planning inspectorate at the end of September, beginning of October this year.
This would follow a consultation period set to take place in July/July.
Due to the size of its output — 250MW — it will then go before the Secretary of State for Energy, who decides applications over 100MW. Plans will also have to go before Swansea councillors at a later date as the company seeks permission for the building work.
At the moment the plans are still being finalised before it goes out for public consultation.
Questions raised by councillors at the meeting included concerns about fish mortality and the impact of a potential Severn barrage.
Head of planning at Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay Alex Hebert said there was a 5 per cent mortality rate for fish.
He told members: "They will be smooth turbines moving at the pace of a child's skipping rope, and 95 per cent of them will survive."
Mr Herbert said the barrage would have a 20cm impact on the up to 10m tidal range and would not affect its viability.
He said an environmental impact study would be carried out with independent experts.