Rob Stewart, Leader of City & County of Swansea Council and Labour Councillor for Morriston hopes the Welsh Government will back plans for a new dragon-shaped island to be built in the coming weeks. This investment would take advantage by harnessing tidal energy. Mr Stewart is committed to making tidal energy a reality in Swansea.
These latest calls came just before UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to rebuild the economy post coronavirus, with further investment in Britain’s infrastructure. This includes schools, hospitals and policing.
Planning permission is still active on the site, according to developers of the failed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon. In December, Tidal Power plc launched a £1.2million fundraising scheme by selling shares as a way to cover the costs for the work required to keep the prospect of planning permission alive. Without this move, permission would have expired at midnight on Tuesday.
Project lead, Mark Shorrock, said that the demolition and site clearing work would “secure in perpetuity” the permissions around Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.
Dragon Energy Island, an alternative project, came to light one year ago from Swansea Bay City Region. As part of the project, there are plans to build around 10,000 new homes and retail shops, in addition to creating energy through solar panels and underwater turbines. This is a great opportunity to generate gas and electricity from alternative sources.
There will also be an invitation for councils and other public sector bodies to purchase electricity generated by the lagoon for a set number of years. Although, further clarification is needed on this matter.
Those who are in support of this new initiative have stated it would not require the same level of taxpayer investment, in comparison to the long-running Tidal Lagoon Power’s £1.3billion project. That plan was rejected by the UK Government as it became prohibitively expensive back in 2018.
A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: “We want to see Wales at the forefront of the marine renewable energy sector and we remain open to further discussions about providing support for such a project, at the appropriate time.”
As countries around the world slowly ease lockdown restrictions, many leaders are starting to formulate plans of their own on how to rebuild their economies in a sustainable way. Investing large sums of money on domestic infrastructure is always going to be seen as a big positive, as it has the added benefits of creating jobs.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused a seismic shift in society, and many will be looking at new ways of achieving objectives. This is because the traditional way has left so many nations on the backfoot.