The media has very recently published plans for electricity to be generated from six tidal lagoons in the UK. The first lagoon is planned for Swansea, followed by Cardiff, Newport and Colwyn Bay in Wales, Bridgewater in Somerset and another in West Cumbria. It is reported that the 6 lagoons will cost around £30bn and will involve huge scale engineering to achieve a possible 8% of the UK’s electricity supply. In Swansea, the sea wall required to contain the lagoon will stretch beyond 5 miles along the coast and in excess of 2 miles out to sea. The Cardiff lagoon is anticipated to be even larger; a breakwater stretching 14 miles and containing as many as 90 turbines. The scale of the engineering is almost unimaginable. The sheer volume of material required to build the sea walls and breakwaters will be vast, requiring huge amounts of rock and metal to be moved from place to place and carefully secured to the sea bed. In contrast, Greenstick Wall Technology, with the addition of turbines, could offer a lighter weight, less invasive alternative solution, yet still provide the same output as anticipated by the Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay project.
A tidal lagoon operates in similar fashion to a lock gate. As the tide rises, the lagoon gates are kept closed and are opened at full tide when the water rushes into the lagoon, turns the turbines and creates energy. As the tide ebbs, the water is retained in the lagoon until low tide when the gates re-open and the escaping water turns the turbines once more, thereby creating another batch of energy.
The building of lagoons in tidal waters to generate electricity is a good idea. Protecting crumbling coastlines and areas liable to flooding are also excellent ideas and essential for our future. Greenstick technology would be an ideal way to protect coastlines and produce power at the same time, most notably within the proposed wind farm infrastructure on the Holderness coast.
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