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Monday, July 10, 2017

Will the Tory Government ever grasp the nettle on the Swansea lagoon?

It struck a number of people over the last few days that Volvo's decision to phase out the internal combustion engine from 2019 onwards may not be as environmentally friendly as first appeared if we do not also change the way we generate electricity.

New developments in battery technology as well, may mean that in future we will need to recharge car batteries less often, assuming that mobile phone technology can be adapted to the automobile industry, but whilst we have the current mix of energy generation to provide that charge, we are continuing to contribute to climate change.

This is where alternative energy generation comes into its own, and in particular the new generation of tidal lagoons which will produce high volume, reliable electricity, but only if the UK Government bites the bullet and helps to get that new industry off the ground in the first place.

Of course the construction of these lagoons contribute to climate change as well, which is where an ancient recipe for a more sustainable and durable concrete could come into its own. But at the end of the day that is a one-off cost which can be off-set by the reduced emissions that will result from operational lagoons.

Despite all of this, the Government's failure to grasp the nettle and agree the strike rate for electricity generated by the Swansea lagoon, is now putting the project at risk. Wales-on-line reports that investors have put further funding for the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay tidal lagoon on hold.

They say that more than £200 million has been provisionally pledged by backers led by Prudential, the large UK insurer, with Macquarie and Investec, two other major financial institutions, ready to raise hundreds of millions more in debt and equity, according to a report in the Financial Times (FT). But investors are refusing to pledge even more cash as the Government is yet to approve the scheme:

David Stevens, founder of Admiral Insurance, who has poured millions of pounds of personal wealth into the project, told the FT: “If there’s no evidence that the government is committed then at some point the patience of investors will be exhausted.

“An opportunity will have been lost and it will be very hard to piece together again in future.” Werner von Guionneau, chief executive of InfraRed Capital Partners, which has pledged £100 million, said government indecision was undermining investor confidence.

“We cannot hang around forever,” he told the FT.

“The government promised a decision and they are letting us down by not making it.”

Keith Clarke, chairman of Tidal Lagoon Power, the company behind the Swansea scheme, is also reported as saying: “The credibility of independent reviews rests on the government making a decision on the back of Hendry.

“Otherwise it will look like more can-kicking as we’ve seen with [the proposed third runway at] Heathrow.”

It is time for the UK Government to make a decision. If they do not do so quickly then a massive opportunity will have been lost and we will be one step close to climate change becoming catastrophic.
The Government is Conservative. That means saving money, not investing it unless they see a financial profit. They are not forward thinkers. Without a lot of good 'selling techniques' pressure to convince them that it would be 'profitable' to build it will take a long time . In the meantime other countries with more vision will overtake us as we sink into third world status through not producing enough energy for industry and everyday living, bills will rise.
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