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Tidal Power

Volume 594: debated on Thursday 19 March 2015

17. What support his Department plans to provide to the development of the proposed tidal lagoon project near Newport. (908211)

I can confirm that the Government have announced that we are entering into a negotiation on a contract for difference for the Swansea bay lagoon to decide whether the project is affordable and represents value for money. I am strongly in favour of a tidal programme across the UK, subject to the usual planning permissions and to the lessons from the first project or projects being learned. Given that planning permissions are site-specific, the hon. Gentleman will understand that I cannot give a view on the Newport project.

The belated recognition by the Government of the enormous advantages of tidal power is very welcome. They should examine what has been taking place for the past 50 years at La Rance in Brittany, where the cheapest electricity in the world is being generated. Will the Secretary of State look at the other schemes? The schemes at Newport are far better value than the Swansea scheme. However, we all give a warm welcome to the Government’s recognition that tidal power is a British, eternal, clean, non-carbon and entirely predictable energy source.

I think this is the first time that the hon. Gentleman and I have been in agreement on energy policy, so I would like to mark the occasion. He is right that tidal lagoon power presents a huge opportunity for this country. The Department is looking at it in detail. I hope that it will produce not only the clean energy that we need, but the green jobs that are so important in many parts of the country.