Plans have been submitted to create artificial sea walls that will capture incoming tidal waters and then use it to power turbines and harness the ocean’s power. Four ‘lagoon power plants’ have been proposed in Wales and one in Somerset and Cumbria by renewable energy firm Tidal Lagoon Power. Tidal power is the only renewable energy source that is completely predictable.
One of the lagoons, based in Swansea, will cost £1 billion to build and create, but could provide enough energy for almost 160,000 homes in the area. Cardiff, Newport, Colywn Bay, Bridgwater and West Cumbria have all been highlighted as the best potential spots for the hydro-dams. The firm behind the plans have said that although the first dam is going to be expensive, they estimate that future dams would become cheaper and cheaper as the engineering technology and understanding increases further. They have also estimated that with an investment of £30 billion, they could provide as much as 8% of the UK’s energy needs.
The lagoon projects could potentially include wind powered energy gathering methods such as wind turbines. Maximising the nearly five mile long sea wall that would need to be created, the firm has plans to create internationally resounding projects that they hope will usher in a wave of new renewable energy projects.
An added benefit to these plans, besides the renewable energy source, would be the furthering of scientific and engineering understanding. Much of the technology needed for innovative energy plans is being created and developed on a project by project basis, and every project enables the world to create more and more efficient renewable technology.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey has applauded these plans, saying that he could not approve them straight away, and some hard thinking was needed, but that he was very much in favour of the idea, and motivation, behind the plans.
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