The Centre for Economics and Business Research in the UK has published a report assessing the benefits that would come from Tidal Lagoon Power’s proposed construction of six tidal lagoons across the country.
The proposed construction would contribute £27 billion to the UK economy over the twelve-year period, employing an annual average of 36,000 over the period and up to 71,000 jobs at its peak. Upon completion, the lagoons would not only produce enough energy to power almost 8 million homes, but it would also contribute £3.1 billion annually over the 120-year design life.
“The UK will soon decide whether or not to embrace tidal lagoon infrastructure,” said Mark Shorrock, CEO of Tidal Lagoon Power. “Having analysed all of the costs and all of the savings associated with this decision, this study clearly demonstrates that the annual benefits to the national economy would be enormous, immediate and long-lived.”
Further highlights from the CEBR report include:
- Taking into account the balance of payments effect, the operation of the lagoons could create or sustain as many as 40,000 jobs, contribute £5.8bn in GDP per year to the UK economy and account for 0.24% of annual GDP
- Construction of the lagoons will involve sourcing a high proportion of components from within the UK, which will ensure that the investment programme delivers one of the best returns in terms of GDP impact per pound invested across the entire energy sector.
- The export of tidal lagoon electricity and of the components and expertise to support the delivery of tidal lagoon projects abroad, combined with a reduction in fossil fuel imports, could increase net exports by as much as £3.7 billion per year by 2040, equivalent to 13% of the current trade deficit.
The report also highlights the benefits that tidal lagoons will bring to the local areas in which they are built:
- With the majority of the lagoons due to be based in relatively deprived areas, construction and operation will provide a much-needed stimulus to local economies, especially as a high proportion of the associated economic benefits are forecast to remain in-region.
- Tidal lagoons could also offer a solution to the coastal flooding problems that have been endured in areas where it is planned to locate the lagoons.
“Tidal lagoon is not the only renewable technology being deployed in the UK but it could be the important missing piece in the energy generation mix,” Douglas McWilliams, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Centre for Economic and Business Research, said. “In contrast to wind and solar, it produces totally predictable power 14 hours a day, reducing the cost of stand-by generators. The electricity it produces is expected to be cheaper than offshore wind and similar in cost to new nuclear.
RenewableUK Wave and Tidal Development Manager Dee Nunn said: “This report shows the huge potential value of tidal lagoons to the UK. This technology alone could produce as much of 8% of the UK’s electricity needs, and create jobs and growth. However, for the tidal sector to really flourish, there needs to be a clear vision for the role of the technology in our future energy needs, which means looking beyond 2020”.