North Wales tidal lagoon ‘could be first of many’
Mostyn Sea Power, a subsidiary of the Port of Mostyn, plans to submit an application by the end of 2022 for a £600m hydropower project and hopes it could pave the way for other, larger schemes along the Welsh coast.
Jim O’Toole, managing director of the Port of Mostyn, said: “The relatively small scale of the Mostyn SeaPower project will pave the way for future larger scaled projects around the Welsh coast.”
A tidal lagoon is a power station that generates electricity from the natural rise and fall of the tides. Large volumes of water are captured behind a man-made structure, which are then released to drive turbines and generate electricity.
Under the Mostyn plans, Mostyn Sea Power proposes the construction of a 6.7km lagoon in the Dee Estuary that will cover an area equivalent to 3,000 acres and have eight turbines in total.
The lagoon will stretch from the breakwater at Mostyn to Point of Ayr in Flintshire.
The scheme will also feature three sluice gates to control the volume of water over the tidal cycle, and a road will run along the top of the lagoon alongside a public path.
Power produced by the lagoon will start being used by the nearby Connah’s Quay Power station from 2027, after Mostyn Sea Power agreed terms with the National Grid. The project is expected to generate energy for up to 82,000 homes.
The location was chosen as it has one of the “highest tidal movements in the UK”, according to Mostyn Sea Power.
The turbines alone are expected to take two years to manufacture, and the construction timeframe for the lagoon wall, turbine housings and sluices will take approximately four years, according to the developer.
Mostyn SeaPower has been working with engineering consultant Bam Nuttall and marine consultancy ABPMer to develop the plans.
Tidal power is more reliable than other types of green energy, such as wind and solar, which are subject to the “intermittent vagaries of the weather”.
O’Toole said: “This will be the biggest infrastructure project North Wales has seen for a very long time and it will provide a massive and timely boost for the regional economy, to kickstart recovery from the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.”
During the construction phase, 300 jobs will be created at the port and further employment will be secured through local companies providing quarrying, mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, steel supply and fabrication services, he added.
Another Welsh tidal lagooon project has been proposed – a £1.3bn project in Swansea, in South Wales. However, the planning permission for this scheme, granted in 2015, expired at the end of June without work ever having started.