$ 2.35 billion tidal lagoon project with planned underwater turbines

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Plans for a £ 1.7bn ($ 2.35bn) project in the UK incorporating technologies such as underwater turbines, floating solar power and battery storage have been announced, development officials hoping it will generate thousands of jobs.

The Blue Eden project, as it is known, would be located on the seafront in Swansea, a coastal town in southwest Wales. In an announcement on Monday, the Swansea Council said the project was made possible with funding from the private sector.

It’s run by a tech company called DST Innovations and other business partners. DST Innovations is headquartered in Wales. Support also comes from Swansea Council and Associated British Ports.

The delivery of Blue Eden would take place in three phases over a 12-year period. A key feature would be “a newly designed tidal lagoon” with “submarine turbines generating 320 megawatts of renewable energy”.

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Other plans for the project include: A factory focused on producing batteries for renewable energy storage; a 72,000 square meter floating solar panel; around 150 “floating” houses; and a battery installation that would store the energy produced by the project, using it to power operations.

Blue Eden is also expected to house an oceans and climate change research center.

Rob Stewart, who heads the Swansea Council, called the project “a game changer for Swansea, its economy and its renewables in the UK, and most importantly, it can be done without the need for government grants.”

This is not the first time that a tidal lagoon project has been proposed for Swansea. In June 2018, the UK government rejected plans for a £ 1.3 billion tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay.

There are high hopes for Blue Eden, however. “Swansea has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world, and this program will allow us to use the energy it provides to support our planet for future generations in a leading project that we can all be in. proud, ”Julie James, who is a member of the Welsh Parliament for Swansea West, said in a statement.

The British Hydropower Association describes tidal amplitude projects as implying that high tide is “stored behind a dike or lagoon wall, and then released by turbines as the tide lowers and electrical power is produced. “.

As the tide turns, the water will flow in the other direction, “feeding the turbines again.”

Tidal power has been around for decades – EDF’s 240 MW tidal power station at La Rance in France dates back to the 1960s – but recent years have seen a number of new projects take shape.

In July 2021, for example, a tidal turbine weighing 680 tonnes and dubbed “the most powerful in the world” started the production of grid-connected electricity at the European Center for Marine Energy in Orkney, an archipelago north of mainland Scotland.

“Our vision is that this project is the trigger for harnessing the resources of the world’s tidal currents to play a role in tackling climate change while creating a new low-carbon industrial sector”, Andrew Scott , CEO of Orbital Marine Power, said at the time.

According to EMEC, “tidal current devices… are broadly similar to submerged wind turbines and are used to harness the kinetic energy of tidal currents”.

Back in Wales, construction on Blue Eden could begin in 2023, subject to a building permit.


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