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Government denies tidal lagoon rejection based on misleading information - UPDATE

The Government has hit back at claims that its rejection of the Tidal Lagoon Power scheme was based on misleading information.

An audit by Gloucester-based Tidal Lagoon Power published yesterday (10th July) of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy's (BEIS) statement on tidal lagoons was said to show  errors in the Government's conclusions.

The government rejected plans for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon scheme on 25th June, but Gloucester-based Tidal Lagoon Power claims the decision was taken based on misleading information.

Key findings in the Tidal Lagoon Power audit include:

  • BEIS said Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon would have a capital cost per unit of power generated 3x higher than Hinkley. It's actually 1.5x higher and leads straight to large tidal lagoons which are the same as nuclear under this metric.
  • BEIS said it would cost only £400m to secure the same power output from offshore wind as sourced from the £1.3bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon. It would actually cost £1.5bn.
  • BEIS said the programme of 6 lagoons would cost 2.5x more than Hinkley to secure the same amount of power. It's actually 1.2x before considering the additional costs associated with nuclear waste, decommissioning etc
  • BEIS said it would cost £31.5bn less to secure the same amount of power from offshore wind as from a programme of 6 lagoons. It would actually cost £28.5bn more.

Keith Clarke CBE, Tidal Lagoon Power's chair said: "Readers of the audit can and will draw their own conclusions. Ours is that the BEIS statement on tidal lagoons was a manifest distortion of the truth.

"The audit demonstrates that the figures employed by BEIS to support its position on tidal lagoons are inaccurate by orders of magnitude, which raises serious questions about the approach taken and the conclusions drawn.

"BEIS' inaction is still holding up tidal lagoons. The Department has not released a full and thorough value-for-money assessment for Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, has not responded to the Hendry Review of tidal lagoons, and has continued to ignore our requests to meet with ministers for a fuller explanation of the position and approach taken.

"This is irresponsible and obstructs our appraisal of the options available to bring further funding into the business and to work up alternate approaches for delivering a pathfinder tidal lagoon at Swansea Bay without the award of a Contract for Difference from the UK Government."

Tidal Lagoon Power's £1 billion Swansea Bay proposed project, between Cardiff and Newport, was designed to harness the natural resource of the Severn Estuary, which has the second highest tidal range in the world.

The audit by Tidal Lagoon Power was peer-reviewed by the Centre for Economics & Business Research and submitted to BEIS.

But in a statement the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy told Punchline: "The Department does not recognise the company's analysis, which appears not to use accepted approaches to appraising this type of project and seems to include out of date cost comparisons.

"The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and the proposed wider programme of lagoons did not represent value for money for consumers.

"That said, we absolutely recognise the potential of marine technologies and are open to proposals demonstrating value for money for taxpayers."

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