Ecotricity says it can build a tidal lagoon for half the price of its rival

A second developer has emerged in the race to build the UK’s first tidal lagoon power station.

Green energy company Ecotricity has launched rival plans to build a tidal lagoon power plant at Swansea Bay - and claims it could do it for half the price of the scheme proposed by Tidal Lagoon Power.

A tidal lagoon is a man-made breakwater wall in the sea that generates power from the motion of the tides.

Future prospects for the fledgling sector were thrown into question earlier this month when the government launched an unexpected review of tidal power - which may not complete until the autumn.

Tidal Lagoon Power hit out at the review, which it said would threaten the viability of its £1bn Swansea Bay scheme. The client - which is planning up to six tidal lagoons across the UK - has been locked in negotiations with the government over agreeing a strike price to guarantee the price of electricity generated by the Swansea lagoon at £168 per megawatt hour (MWh).

The firm warned a decision needed to be made within six weeks if the project was to go ahead.

Ecotricity said it welcomed the government’s review of tidal lagoon energy and was ready to build the first site in Britain.

The company, which will release details of its plans later this year, said it would be able to deliver a lagoon for a strike price of £90/MWh - a similar price to that proposed for Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, at £92.50/MWh.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said:  “We were concerned that the Government were being pushed into paying too high a price for tidal energy through the Swansea Bay scheme – that would be bad for renewable energy generally because it would reinforce the myth that green energy is expensive, and bad for tidal power specifically because it may never get off the ground.
“We’re hoping this review will lead to the Government supporting tidal energy in Britain and doing it in a way that will enable competition, and through that value for money – enabling tidal mills to achieve their true potential in Britain.”