Tidal lagoon power
The UK has some of the highest tidal ranges in the world, in areas of shallow water around a number of its coastal areas.
- Solway Firth
- Morecombe Bay
- Colwyn Bay
- Severn Estuary
- Welsh Grounds
- Swansea Bay
- Bridgewater Bay
- East Lincs Coast
- The Wash
- Thames Estuary
- Sussex Coast
These places present an opportunity to create artificial lagoons by constructing perimeter breakwater walls to enclose a tidal area. The bunded area is then dredged. Two way hydro turbines are installed in a single section at the base of the perimeter wall through which estuarine water flows in one direction or the other four times daily. For fifteen out of twenty four hours enough tidal flow is generated to operate the turbines and generate electrical power.
As tides are more reliable than wind, its energy might be considered a better bet than the rush to erect wind turbines across Britain’s countryside. The Swansea Bay scheme is calculated to save 216,000 tonnes of CO2 annually which is equivalent to taking 81,000 cars off the road. Turbine blades are of a size and speed that allow large fish to freely enter and exit the lagoon without harm. Additionally the perimeter walls provide leisure access for pedestrians and cyclists and the lagoon will attract dinghy sailing and other activities.
However, there remain issues to overcome, including the potential environmental damage (to both plants and animals) and the high strike price needed to make the project viable.
In January 2016, Prime Minister David Cameron cast doubt over tidal power whilst giving evidence to the Parliament’s Liason Committee, when he said, “The problem with tidal power, simply put, is that at the moment we have not seen any ideas come forward that can hit a strike price in terms of pounds per megawatt-hour that is very attractive. That is the challenge for tidal. Maybe they can come up with something. They are very long-term schemes with big investments up front, and they can last for many, many years, but right now my enthusiasm is reduced slightly by the fact that the cost would be quite high.”
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Cardiff tidal lagoon.
- Development Consent Order.
- Dove Stone Hydropower.
- Marine energy.
- Renewable energy.
- Thames barrier.
- Water engineering.
- Water transfers and interconnections.
 External references.
- Construction Manager, special report 26 August 2015.
- Daedalus Partners LLP (Daedalus) prospectus.
- Technology4Change, Oyster building centrepiece for new £850m tidal project. 14/2/2014.
Featured articles and news
Sadiq Khan publishes a new development strategy for the capital.
In the week of the momentous Heathrow decision, we look back at the development and design of T5.
BSRIA’s flagship event will address performance and wellbeing beyond compliance.
Young Architects and Developers Alliance launched to build the relationship between the two disciplines.
BS 8536-2:2016 Design and construction: Code of practice for asset management (Linear and geographical infrastructure).
Paying for off-site goods or materials can be useful, but it puts the client at risk.
People power can be transformative if properly informed and inspired.
ZHA win competition to build an Urban Heritage Administration Centre in Saudi Arabia.
Leaps, not steps, are needed to avoid a ticking time bomb, say BRE in response to Farmer Review.
A multi-purpose hall in France covered in a translucent orange membrane.
Winning designs revealed for a rock formation-influenced residential complex in Rennes.
An article explaining the techniques, regulations and environmental impacts of carbon capture and storage.
Watch one of the first documentaries by the acclaimed Adam Curtis, examining the substandard system building of the 1960s.