Tidal energy projects in the UK can be developed for nearly half the price of the proposed Swansea Bay project, according to the founder of the popular green electricity supplier Ecotricity.
To be more specific, the utility company founder stated that tidal energy projects in the region could be built for around £90/megawatt-hour (MWh) — rather than the £168/MWh price-tag of the proposed Swansea Bay tidal energy project.
The Ecotricity head also voiced support for the UK government’s recent decision to review the reality of tidal energy costs before committing to support the Swansea Bay project, as well as revealed the company’s plans to complete the first tidal energy project site in the region.
Here’s more from a press release:
Britain’s leading green energy company today welcomed the Government’s review of tidal lagoon energy — and announced that it is ready to take part in the review and to compete to build the first tidal lagoon energy site in Britain. The company, which will release details of its plans later this year, believes it can build tidal lagoon energy sites in Britain for almost half the price currently proposed for Swansea Bay.
…Ecotricity has recently written to the Department of Energy and Climate Change urging the Government to take its time and look more closely at the cost of tidal energy — and the company believes the Government is right to announce a review to ensure value for money from the fledgling industry.
Ecotricity founder, Dale Vince, stated: “The Government has been agonizing for a while about what level of support to give to the first tidal project in Britain. They’re clearly interested in the technology, which is a good thing, but they’ve been put off by the price tag of £168/MWh proposed by Swansea Bay — that’s understandable.
“We welcome the review, because we’re confident that tidal power projects can be built around Britain at much closer to £90/MWh — that’s the same price the Government are paying to support nuclear energy, but without the risks or clean-up costs.”
A good point. Despite the surface-level similarity in costs, tidal energy has a considerably less harmful effect on the wider environment — being responsible for far less in the way of waste production (and the production waste is far less toxic). The electricity generation technology is also far simpler to manage, requiring far less in the way is technical expertise, etc.
The UK government’s review of tidal energy is expected to begin relatively soon, towards the beginning of spring. (More information on the review can be found here.)
Dale continued: “We were concerned that the Government were being pushed into paying too high a price for tidal energy through the Swansea Bay scheme — that would be bad for renewable energy generally because it would reinforce the myth that green energy is expensive, and bad for tidal power specifically because it may never get off the ground.”
“We’re hoping this review will lead to the Government supporting tidal energy in Britain and doing it in a way that will enable competition, and through that value for money — enabling tidal mills to achieve their true potential in Britain.”
Image Credit: Ecotricity
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