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TIDAL: The future of the past

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Former Welsh opencast executive named as Development Director, Wales for Tidal Lagoon Power.

A former opencast mining worker and executive has been named as the man that will front the Welsh development activities of Tidal Lagoon Power Limited, the company behind the proposed Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, in Wales.

52 year old Ioan Jenkins began his career with British Coal in South Wales prior to privatisation before then joining Celtic Energy Limited to lead the management of the Eastpit Opencast Site in Tairgwaith producing 8,000 tonnes of anthracite each month, East Merthyr Reclamation Scheme (the largest land reclamation scheme in Western Europe), Cwmbargoed Processing Plant and 22 million cubic Llanilid Opencast Site near Bridgend. More recently, he has held the role of Head of Community Regeneration with BITC, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise Wales and Director of BTCV Cymru, an environmental and conservation body. He has been appointed as Development Director for Wales by Tidal Lagoon Power Limited.

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is being promoted and developed by Tidal Lagoon Power Limited (TLP). Their 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. A community share offer will be launched on 10 June 2013.

Capable of generating electricity equivalent to Swansea’s entire domestic consumption, the proposed 250MW power plant in Swansea Bay will produce predictable, baseload electricity for 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 be ‘power ready’ in 2017, creating significant opportunities for local suppliers and manufacturers.

Originally from the Amman Valley, Mr Jenkins says: “South Wales was transformed by the demand for coal during the industrial revolution. Falling demand for coal in recent years, political decisions and increased global competition has led to the decline in an industry that shaped Wales’ past but we have this fantastic opportunity to take control of our future by returning to our roots in energy production.”

As a nation, we are rich in energy resources. We must harness those resources to create a more prosperous future for Wales and tidal energy should be at the heart of this as mining once was. Political support is essential if we are to maximise the benefit that energy can deliver for Wales so I will be looking to work closely with Welsh Government and the various statutory bodies to ensure that we can, once again, be seen as a global centre for energy.”

“What’s more, we’ll be doing all that we can to maximise opportunities for the supply chain here in Wales as 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. This will create opportunities for local businesses and manufacturers along with a significant number of jobs, which will be local wherever possible. ”

Mark Shorrock, Chief Executive of Tidal Lagoon Power adds: “Climate change and energy security are major challenges for the UK but they also present a golden opportunity for Wales, particularly in the current economic climate.”

“Wales has 1200km of coastline, strategically located deep sea ports, accessible grid infrastructure, a strong manufacturing and skills base, up to 6.2GW of estimated generating capacity and a resource that is ideally suited to the current phase of the industry. That’s why we are so focussed on our vision 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, training opportunities, cheap power and local long term amenities for the communities who host the lagoons. We are delighted to have Ioan on board as we prepare to launch our community share offer and progress towards planning in Swansea along with more detailed analysis of further sites in Wales.”

Detailed plans for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon are now being finalised with the launch of the community share offer expected shortly and formal consultation due to begin in July 2013. The application for development consent to the Planning Inspectorate will be submitted in the late autumn of 2013.

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