Following the news that the UK Government is not supporting the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, calls have been made for an alternative renewable energy plan.
Almost 18 months after the government's own adviser concluded the lagoon would be a no regrets policy, UK Business Secretary Greg Clark announced he would not give the £1.3bn scheme the go ahead.
Responding to the news, Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart said the government had made a huge mistake.
He said: "The tidal lagoon is a once in a generation opportunity to create a new industry and provide renewable, tidal energy for the UK.
"It's a game-changing project that would create 1,000 jobs during construction and almost 200 full-time jobs. As a pathfinder project Swansea would pave the way for an entirely new industry where Wales and the UK would be a world leader.
"The UK Government has spent 18 months on this decision and after all that time they have made the wrong call.
"They are removing nearly £2bn of investment from Swansea and South Wales. We're being left with sub-standard transport because the UK Government removed electrification investment of £700m.
“Now they are cancelling the lagoon, removing £1.3bn with the loss of thousands of new jobs and opportunities with it."
Harri Lloyd-Davies, President of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, has called on the Government to lay out a long-term renewable energy plan, now that the Tidal Lagoon will no longer go ahead.
He said: “This news is a bitter pill for Swansea and the hopes for South Wales to become a hub for the renewable energy industry.
“This is a short-sighted decision by the UK Government. The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon was meant to be the first of many lagoons along the coast of the Severn Estuary, and eventually around the UK, and would give us clean energy for at least 120 years.
“It’s true that this first pathfinder lagoon would cost a lot and wouldn’t generate as much electricity as the new nuclear power station at Hinckley Point, but if the government are to be believed when they say they support renewable energy they need to start somewhere.
“Wednesday marks 64 years since the opening of the world’s first nuclear power station.
“That generated just 5 MW of electricity but if it hadn’t happened the industry wouldn’t have grown to develop the 3260 MW Hinckley Point C.
“In the same way, if the 320 MW Swansea lagoon doesn’t happen it’s unlikely that another lagoon in Cardiff, which is estimated will be able to power every home in Wales, will be built.
“Today’s announcement leaves us asking what is the government’s long-term plans for renewable energy?
“Business not only wants affordable energy today, it needs assurance that the lights will stay on over the coming decades, and beyond the lifespan of the power stations currently being built, which are relatively short compared to the tidal lagoon.
“The government needs to be clear about the support it’s willing to give to untested renewable energy technology and what it sees as acceptable subsidy levels for anyone else bringing forward a tidal lagoon project.”
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