Britain approves world’s first tidal lagoon power project

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has given planning consent for a 1 billion pound ($2.07 billion) tidal lagoon project in Wales capable of generating enough electricity to power around 155,000 homes, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said on Tuesday.

"Planning consent was given today for construction of the world's first tidal lagoon, in a boost to moving towards a low carbon, home grown energy mix," DECC said in a statement.

The project, developed by Tidal Lagoon Power, involves building a 9.5-km (6-mile) horseshoe-shaped sea wall around Swansea Bay in Wales to capture tidal power, and is expected to have a capacity of around 320 megawatts.

When the tide drops, the difference between water levels inside and outside the lagoon causes water to pass through turbines to produce electricity. Similarly, when the tide rises, power would be generated as water fills the lagoon.

Separately from the planning consent, the government still needs to decide whether the project will qualify for a subsidy under its Contract for Difference (CfD) support scheme. The CfD scheme provides a guaranteed price for the electricity produced.

Britain has a legally binding target to cut its emissions by 80 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050 and has embarked on electricity market reforms aimed at spurring investment in low-carbon nuclear and renewable power production.

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