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Video: John asks whether Tidal Lagoons will benefit UK consumers in the long-term

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Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will be the world’s first tidal lagoon power plant. During a debate in Westminster Hall, John asks whether encouraging the growth of this technology will benefit the consumer in the long-term - surely the ultimate aim...

For those unfamiliar with the technology, a tidal lagoon is a ‘U’ shaped breakwater, built out from the coast which has a bank of hydro turbines in it. Water fills up and empties the man-made lagoon as the tides rise and fall. Electricity is generated on both the incoming and outgoing tides, four times a day, every day.

John Penrose (Conservative, Weston-Super-Mare):
Does my right hon. Friend have any views, or evidence of any views, about how the cost per unit, or per bay created, might drop as the industry gets under way? I am thinking of the solar photovoltaic industry, where the cost per unit has decreased dramatically over many years. It is important that we have some sense of how much cheaper tidal lagoon energy might become, because the costs will ultimately be borne by consumers through their energy bills. Many people are struggling for cash these days, and we are trying to drive up the productivity of the UK economy, so lower long-term cost to the consumer if we can make it work will be an important prize to gain.

Stephen (Crabb Conservative, Preseli Pembrokeshire):
That question goes absolutely to the heart of the matter, and I will address it in a bit more detail later. The figures that I have seen from Tidal Lagoon Power demonstrate that as we move from the pathfinder project in Swansea to the larger full-scale fleet of lagoons starting in Cardiff, the costs of energy generation decrease markedly. That does not even assume any of what economists call project learnings, which help to drive efficiencies in future projects.

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