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Tidal Lagoon Power announces Global Partners for the development of the World's First Tidal Lagoon in Swansea Bay

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Leading global companies Costain, Atkins, and Van Oord have reached agreements to partner with Tidal Lagoon Power Limited to design, build and deliver the world’s first tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, Wales as the company prepares for formal consultation due to begin on Thursday 4 July.

Costain is one of the UK’s leading Tier One engineering solution providers. Costain will work alongside all partners to coordinate and manage delivery of the Swansea Bay project with optimal engineering solutions. Their work will include developing and managing the schedule for pre-construction and construction phases, developing construction methodology for civil engineering works including turbine and sluice structures, access routes and complex temporary works included temporary bund for construction of turbine housing.

Darren James, Managing Director of Costain Infrastructure says: “Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will be the world’s first, purpose-built, tidal lagoon power plant, and will be capable of generating electricity equivalent to Swansea’s entire domestic consumption. Importantly, the proposed 250MW power plant will save over 200,000 tonnes of CO2 per year for its design life of over 100 years. This project gives Wales a significant opportunity to take the lead in the tidal industry for the UK and we look forward to working with the team to develop what will hopefully be a network of lagoons around the UK coastline.”

Atkins has 75 years’ experience of providing world-class design, engineering and project management solutions across a wide range of market sectors, including energy, water, marine and urban development. The company has been working with Tidal Lagoon Power for 18 months to examine the feasibility of the overall project and has now been commissioned to provide engineering design and geotechnical expertise. This includes designing both the turbine house and the innovative breakwater bund wall, which uses a combination of giant tubular sand bags protected by armour made up of different sized rocks; and investigating the geology of the seabed.

Van Oord is an innovative leading international contractor specialising in dredging, marine engineering and offshore projects (oil, gas and wind) and, for over 100 years, have been helping to create landmark projects such as the Dutch Delta Plan Storm Surge Barriers, Chek Lap Kok Airport, Palm Jumeirah, and several offshore wind farms in the North Sea. Van Oord is working in partnership with Tidal Lagoon Power to develop an innovative construction methodology suitable for the harsh offshore conditions in the Swansea Bay.

Capable of generating electricity equivalent to Swansea’s entire domestic consumption, the proposed 240MW power plant in Swansea Bay will produce predictable, baseload electricity for up to 16 hours each day, using both the ebb and flood tides. It will save over 200,000 tonnes of CO2 per year for its design life of over 100 years.

The project represents an investment of £650 million, and according to Tidal Lagoon Power, the development company behind the scheme, is a significant opportunity for Wales to take the lead in the tidal industry for the UK. The power plant could be connected to the National Grid and could be ‘power ready’ in 2017.

Ton Fijen, Technical Director for Tidal Lagoon Power adds: “Our vision is to deliver 10,000MW of power from the tidal range in the UK and thus change the energy mix to home-grown, low carbon energy that creates local jobs, cheap power and local long term amenities for the communities who host the lagoons. We know that there is an available 10,000 MW of potential sites in the UK alone that are suitable for tidal lagoon development. The Swansea project will hopefully be the first in a network of lagoons around the UK coastline, driving a critical change in our energy mix with low cost, low carbon electricity sources that are sustainable long-term.”

“Detailed plans for the lagoon are now being finalised prior to beginning formal on 4 July. Our intention, subject to design readiness, is to submit an application for development consent to the Planning Inspectorate in the late autumn of 2013. Announcing our partnership with these leading contractors is another step forward as we progress towards planning.”

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is being promoted and developed by Tidal Lagoon Power Limited (TLP). TLP’s focus is the development of a series of tidal lagoons to generate renewable energy from the rise and fall of the considerable tidal range to be found in Welsh and UK waters.


The company is privately funded and founded by Mark Shorrock, CEO. Mark is a pioneering entrepreneur in renewables who has founded four companies including Wind Energy Ltd, a Scottish-based developer of wind farms. Mark grew Wind Energy Ltd into the largest independent developer of wind farms in the UK with over 650MW of wind farms moving through the planning process. In 2006, Mark founded Low Carbon Investors, investment manager of the AIM listed Low Carbon Accelerator fund which he also founded. In 2008, he founded Low Carbon Solar Holdings, a private investment vehicle currently investing in solar power plants in Spain. Prior to founding TLP, Mark was a founder of Low Carbon Solar which, in 2011, developed and funded the deployment of £70m of solar energy, totalling 28MW.

Our project is steered by a governance board comprising the UK’s leading experts in major infrastructure projects, delivery and engineering, to ensure a regular challenge to our approach and a rigorous programme of due diligence throughout the development programme.


Tidal range schemes differ from ‘tidal stream’ technology in their use of head to generate power. Tidal stream technologies generate power using water velocity arising from currents, which is less efficient and requires very large machines to produce relatively small amounts of power. Tidal range, on the other hand, uses exactly the same head principle as normal run-of-river hydro schemes to produce energy and therefore the turbine technology is very similar i.e. robust, efficient and proven. Tidal range lagoons also offer the opportunity to control the direction and velocity of the water flows that are harnessed.


There are currently three large scale uni-directional tidal range plants in operation: Annapolis in the Bay of Fundy, Canada (30MW), La Rance in Brittany, France (240MW) and Sihwa in Korea (254MW). There are also experimental tidal range energy projects being tested in Russia, UK, Australia, USA, Argentina, Canada, India, Korea and Mexico. Potential sites for tidal range energy projects include the UK, France, Eastern Canada, Pacific coast of Russia, Korea, China, Mexico and Chile. Other sites have been identified along the Patagonian coast of Argentina, Western Australia and Western India. In total, 70% of the Earth’s surface is ocean and 500,000km2 of that offers 4m+ of tidal range.


Swansea Bay has been chosen as it offers the necessary conditions for building lagoons – the water must be shallow and the tidal range must be large. The Severn Estuary holds the second highest tidal range in the world and Swansea Bay reaches a range of just over 10m. As well as benefitting from this key characteristic, Swansea has a gently sloping seabed (suitable for this construction method) and proximity to a population centre, such that transmission losses are minimised from the electricity produced.

The multi-million pound development will comprise a sand core seawall and hydro turbines mounted in a concrete turbine housing. The seawall will use sandy materials gained from the seabed within the lagoon footprint which are hydraulically filled into long geotextile casings 5m in diameter. On top of these Geotubes® (a product of TenCate) and compacted sand fill are placed small rocks and on top of the small rocks, larger rock armour to protect the structure against degradation from the marine environment, sun and weather.


As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment, TLP has commissioned independent experts to conduct detailed water quality, wave and coastal process modelling in order to understand the potential impacts of the lagoon during construction and operation. From this understanding, we can integrate impact minimisation and mitigation measures into the project prior to submission of the application for consent. During the course of the EIA baseline a range of surveys are being undertaken including:

· Geophysical survey of the lagoon footprint

· Preliminary geotechnical survey

· Oceanographic (wave and current) survey

· Winter and summer bird surveys

· Seasonal fish surveys

· Phase 1 intertidal ecology survey

· Phase 1 terrestrial ecology survey.

· Subtidal benthic characterisation survey

Areas under study:

· Coastal processes, sediment transport and contamination

· Marine water quality, Water Framework Directive

· Intertidal and sub-tidal benthic ecology

· Fish, recreational and commercial fisheries

· Marine mammals

· Coastal birds

· Habitat Regulation Assessment

· Navigation and marine transport assessment

· Terrestrial ecology

· Seascape and visual amenity impact assessment

· Onshore transport assessment and air quality

· Economy, tourism and recreation

· Marine and terrestrial noise assessment

· Flood risk assessment

· Land quality assessment

· Marine and terrestrial archaeology, and historic landscape

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