The company behind plans for a North Wales tidal lagoon that could create 20,000 jobs and generate more than £11 billion for the regional economy has vowed to press ahead with the scheme.
Henry Dixon, the chairman of North Wales Tidal Energy (NWTE), the group leading the project, said he was not deterred by the UK Government’s decision to reject a tidal lagoon project in Swansea.
In announcing the decision, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said the Swansea scheme was not value for money.
According to Mr Dixon, the numbers do stack up for the £7 billion North Wales plan which would generate more energy and more revenue than the shelved Swansea lagoon.
The lagoon, stretching from Llandudno eastwards towards Talacre in Flintshire, could be built and begin generating power within 10 years.
It would pump 2.5 gigawatts of electricity into the National Grid every year – and provide power to over a million homes.
Project leaders also say it would also safeguard homes, businesses and infrastructure along the North Wales coast from flooding.
Mr Dixon said: “At long last, the UK Government has come off the fence and delivered its decision on the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon.
“That it has made the wrong decision on the development of the pathfinder lagoon in South Wales is tragic but cannot and will not stop North Wales Tidal Energy & Coastal Protection Ltd (NWTE) continuing to develop and promote a North Wales tidal lagoon.
“As recognised by the Minister himself in his statement and by MPs questioning his decision, tidal energy and tidal lagoons offer many advantages to Wales and the UK including energy security, renewable energy and jobs in key areas of the country.
“NWTE’s initial proposals demonstrate that the performance of a North Wales tidal lagoon will significantly surpass the projected output from Swansea. The enhanced power output and revenue generated delivers a business plan that we believe will meet many of the Minister’s concerns.
“In addition and vitally important to North Wales is the added benefit of the coastal and flooding protection offered by a North Wales tidal lagoon. As shown by recent studies, a lagoon will help protect over £3.3Bn of property and infrastructure as well as the many communities who are increasingly impacted every year.
“We welcome the Minister’s invitation to engage with him and his Department and look forward to communicating the many, cost-effective benefits that NWTE’s integrated renewable energy and coastal protection will bring to North Wales and the rest of the country.”
Mr Dixon added: NWTE chairman Henry Dixon said: “The tide rises twice a day and is completely reliable. The proposed tidal lagoon will generate power for at least 100 years and will be future-proofed to ensure that it continues to provide coastal protection and efficient renewable energy generation throughout its long life.
“We have had widespread political support from local MPs and AMs of all parties and it really does seem to be a ‘no-brainer’ that it should be built.
“A North Wales tidal lagoon, not many miles from the tidal stream development areas off Anglesey will position North Wales as a global leader in marine renewable energy.
“NWTE’s by-line is ‘By North Wales. For North Wales’ and we would make every effort to ensure that local and regional professional services, construction, transport and manufacturing industries are involved in the development of this huge project.
“This would create a significant number of highly-paid and highly-skilled jobs that would be much in demand globally as worldwide interest in predictable renewable technologies grows.
“The North Wales tidal lagoon would be a major visitor attraction in its own right with a visitor centre and marine facilities being incorporated in its design.
“Protected waters would provide a fantastic environment for water sports and aquaculture, while locks will ensure that boats and fishing vessels can continue to go out into Liverpool Bay.
“The lagoon will boost tourism and create jobs in that sector for years after the project is completed.”