£1.2m sought to retain for the UK the option of up to 25GW of tidal power
General Election 2019 set to shape project’s delivery pathway
Tidal Power Plc has today launched a £1.2 million fundraise to enable the conclusion of works to secure in perpetuity the planning permission awarded to the world-first Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.
With shares priced at £2.50 and offered at a minimum subscription of £500, the Investor Memorandum targets high net worth individuals or experienced private company investors. The project’s founding investor base has committed a six figure sum to kick-start the fundraise.
Swansea Tidal Lagoon is designed as the pathfinder for a potential fleet of tidal lagoons capable of satisfying more than 10% of the UK’s electricity demand for the next five generations.
The Swansea project will create thousands of jobs and launch a new British manufacturing industry. It will pioneer UK build modular construction methodologies, commits to building a new UK hydro-turbine manufacturing plant and establishes the UK as the world leader in tidal power. The project harvests the rise and fall of the tides, operating 14 hours a day to generate electricity for 175,000 homes for the next 120 years – working in harmony with nature while regenerating deprived coastal communities and bolstering nationwide industrial employment.
Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon was awarded its main planning permission by the UK coalition government in June 2015 and found to be a ‘no regrets policy’ option by the government’s Hendry Review of tidal lagoons in 2017, before suffocating amidst the sustained political uncertainty that precipitated the 2019 General Election.
The Development Consent Order (DCO) for Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will expire in June 2020 unless material works have commenced. Funds are being raised primarily to complete the discharge of planning conditions that will allow the company to prepare for a start on site. This will in effect convert the DCO to ‘evergreen’ status and retain for the UK the option of tidal power at scale, when the political climate allows.
Meanwhile, the outcome of the General Election 2019 could determine the project’s ultimate delivery pathway by expanding the financing options available to it. Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon features in the 2019 election manifestos of the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru, with those of the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party also stating explicit support for new investment into tidal power.
Following Theresa May’s government’s refusal in June 2018 to offer the Swansea pathfinder project any subsidy support via a Contract for Difference (CfD), the revenue support mechanism open to other forms of low carbon power generation and responsible for guiding offshore wind to today’s low prices, Tidal Power Plc has advanced an alternative delivery pathway that assumes no such subsidy. Twelve months of negotiations with private and public sector organisations interested in signing long term power purchase agreements with the pathfinder project have confirmed this to be a viable, if longer and more complex, route to financial close and one that is open to the company irrespective of the outcome of the election.
Upon the successful completion of the £1.2m fundraise, on or before March 20th 2020, Tidal Power Plc will be in a position to complete the discharge of planning conditions at Swansea Bay, prepare to commence land-side material works on site, and progress its work with Natural Resources Wales to move its application for a Marine Licence to a determination.
Tidal Power Plc’s chief executive, Mark Shorrock, said: “With the increased awareness of the Climate Emergency, the rationale to deliver lagoons is stronger than ever and that view is shared by the majority of political parties contesting the 2019 general election.
“However, we must first remove the cliff-edge from Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon’s planning permission. No amount of political will can resurrect this vital pathfinder project if the planning permission is allowed to lapse. That is why we’ve launched our new fundraise today. By raising a relatively modest sum we can retain for the UK the option of large-scale, multi-generational tidal power.
“We’d like to thank the almost 450 individual investors who share our vision and have to date invested £37m in the project. Political and institutional support are important but in the struggle to decarbonise the global economy, it is individuals that hold the key to transformation. We hope that today’s fundraise is supported so we can bring the vision of tidal power for the UK into reality”.
Roger Evans MBE is the Chairman of the independent Tidal Lagoon Industry Advisory Group that was established in January 2014 in order to champion the new emerging tidal lagoon industry in the UK, to be anchored within Wales. Roger is the Chairman of Witt Energy Ltd and was the former Managing Director at Schaeffler (UK) Ltd.
Roger Evans said: “For the last five years we have been working to secure this exciting new industry for Wales. Major infrastructure projects always take longer than initially envisaged but the looming deadline for the planning consent means that timing really now is critical if we are ever going to deliver on lagoons for the people of Wales. For the sake of our economy and our environment, we really can’t miss this opportunity.”