The UK government may soon approve the Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay artificial tidal power project in Wales: it will cost consumers less in the future than nuclear power.

This is the first project in the world designed to harness the tidal energy of an artificial lake. The plant is expected to come into operation in 2021. It is located in South Wales, specifically in the waters of Swansea Bay. Here the Severn estuary, the second in the world in terms of rising and falling tides. In the spring they have tides of 8.5 meters high.

The project can now also count on the support of London. Charles Hendry, a former Energy Minister, reviewed the project to see if the technology could be economically viable in Britain, in order to decide whether or not the government should support the project financially. In its assessment, it affirms that it can play an economically advantageous role in the energy mix, contributing to security of supply and the reduction of carbon emissions.

In this way, a first experimental installation could be approved. The size is still pending: it is expected to have a capacity of 320 MW and an electricity production of 14 hours per day. According to the report, the average cost will be lower than that of nuclear power. The idea is to create a model in the Bay of Wales, to be replicated on a larger scale in six other projects. The planned investment is $ 1,582 million. It could produce more than 10% of the electricity in the UK.

The Swansea project is a 9.5 km long “U” shaped sea wall that crosses the bay, intended to create an artificial lake. The dike will have 16 turbines hydraulic which will generate energy through the rise and fall of water in the tides.

Its operation is based on the principle of communicating vesselsWhen the tide rises outside the lake, water enters it, moving the turbines as it passes. When the tide goes out, the water inside the lake will flow out to sea, again moving the turbines.


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