From time to time, good news comes to the market and with it there is often a level of scepticism! Will it work and when will it happen? Different projects are being put forward, and those that get through are worth noting while others, which are struggling, may genuinely need great understanding and support. Under the Large Combustion Plant Directive, the UK is closing down 8GW or 14% of its generation capacity by the end of this year, but the only tangible plans in place to date will offer only around 25% back in the short term. Therefore, anything regarding new capacity build is very welcome!
We are still awaiting further news on the progress at the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C. The go-ahead was first given nearly two years ago to build the new 3.2GW power station to work alongside Hinkley B and replace Hinkley A, which is being decommissioned. It is a major project requiring £16bn to build, but it will provide electricity for around five million homes over sixty years. It will also give jobs for 25,000 during the building period and thereafter need a staff of 900 to run it. Cost is the issue, and with EDF planning to run the development, more funding is required and this will probably come from countries such as China, India, and Japan. To an extent, the developing countries are working with and supporting the developed countries!
More recently, planning permission has been granted for a Tidal Lagoon Hydroelectric Project to be installed in Swansea Bay. Now, unlike wind, which is not sustainable, wave power is continuous and very sustainable. Although weather cannot be safely predicted for more than about forty-eight hours in advance, tides can be known for years ahead! There will be a sea wall around six miles long extending into the bay with turbines inset along its length, generating power driven by falling and rising tides.
Highly innovative and probably far more sustainable than most other renewable energy projects, it will supposedly produce around 320MW of low carbon power. This will be of great benefit to the region, which encompasses both domestic and industrial consumers. The real appeal comes from the fact that it could be operational within three to four years, less than half the time required for nuclear build. Furthermore, it could also be the starting point for similar developments around the coastline of the country. However, there is much to be done beforehand, including the raising of at least £1bn and agreeing the level of support available from the government, together with an agreement on the “strike prices”.