In February 2016, the Government commissioned an independent review into the feasibility and practicality of tidal lagoon energy in the UK. The review has been led by the Rt Hon Charles Hendry, who was appointed in May. The purpose of the review was to assess:
- whether, and in what circumstances, tidal lagoons could play a cost effective role as part of the UK energy mix;
- the potential scale of opportunity in the UK and internationally, including supply chain opportunities;
- a range of possible structures for financing tidal lagoons;
- different sizes of projects as the first of a kind;
- whether a competitive framework could be put in place for the delivery of tidal lagoon projects.
Charles Hendry will publish the report today. I am grateful to Charles and his team for the hard work that has gone into the Review and for the time and care he has taken over this important commission.
The issues considered by the Review are complex, as they relate to an untried technology in the marine environment. As the Review notes, tidal lagoons face considerable challenges in relation to their role in the UK’s energy mix and their potential environmental impact. The Government will now require a period of time to assess the recommendations set out in the Review, and to consider the issues which would arise from a broader lagoon programme. A Government response will be published in due course.
The Government’s energy planning is focused on ensuring secure, affordable, low-carbon energy. Any decisions arising from the Review will, therefore, need to balance the priorities for security of supply, low carbon generation and affordability. The Government will consider the Review’s recommendations and determine what decision is in the best interests of the UK energy consumer in the long term.
It is this Government’s job to consider both the advantages and the disadvantages of tidal lagoons, to scrutinise the evidence carefully, and to take measured decisions where there are a wide range of issues to consider and significant uncertainties over what is, in the case of this technology, a long period of time.
The Hendry Review report can be found at: https://hendryreview.wordpress.com/.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords