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Swansea Bay tidal lagoon now a more ‘investible proposition’

ELECTRICITY from a Swansea Bay tidal lagoon could generate hydrogen to power vehicles and make the project more attractive to investors, council leader Rob Stewart said.

Using some of the lagoon electricity in this way, he said, would generate higher returns than selling it via the grid.

Vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells are cleaner and greener than combustion engines.

The lagoon plan put forward by a private company was sunk in 2018 when the UK Government decided not to provide a financial package of support to make the £1.3 billion scheme commercially viable.

Since then a task force set up by the Swansea Bay City Region has submitted a report to the Welsh Government saying the project could be delivered cheaper – and with a solar farm and up to 10,000 houses floating within the lagoon itself.

Speaking at a Swansea Bay City Region joint committee meeting, Cllr Stewart said the task force had also reduced the period in which investors would have to wait for a return, and that the lagoon was now “a more investible proposition”.

He added: “We are still doing work to on some of the modelling.”

Eleven companies have expressed an interest in delivering all or some of the lagoon project, including five multi-nationals.

Cllr Stewart said the Welsh Government was positive about the new-look proposal, although no formal response has been given to the task force report.

Committee member and lagoon supporter, Cllr Darren Price, said Wales had a history of having its natural resources exploited, and asked to what extent the task force was pushing for a public (financial) return.

“It’s something we would welcome,” replied Cllr Stewart.

But he said any investor would need to make their own decision.

The Labour leader also said the company which had previously put forward the Swansea scheme – Tidal Lagoon Power – was one of the 11 interested parties, and that it had been helpful in sharing information with the task force.

Cllr Jamie Adams wanted to know if the financial aspect of the project – the previous stumbling block – had been addressed.

“Yes, is the answer,” replied Cllr Stewart.

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