We were delighted to see the publication of the Hendry review last week on the role of Tidal Lagoons in the UK energy mix.
In summary, the Hendry report was supportive of tidal lagoons, heralding them as an important part of the mitigation of climate change and contributing to meeting UK carbon reduction targets.
As with any ‘first of its kind’ development, there is a degree of uncertainty surrounding the potential for impacts on marine life. It is therefore important that the right kind of monitoring is in place to ensure the project proceeds with no detrimental environmental impacts.
SMRU Consulting are working very closely with Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay (TLSB) to ensure that everyone is in a position to learn about the potential impacts on marine life and that we can prevent any impacts should they come up. But of course no one has ever done this before so off-the-shelf solutions don’t exist. Our work with TLSB has involved designing a bespoke, state-of-the-art marine mammal detection system and throughout the coming years we’ll be continuing to work with them and a number of other technology partners to provide an adaptive monitoring and mitigation programme for the Swansea Bay development.
This is not the first time that we have been involved with a ‘first of its kind’ renewable energy technology. The marine mammal monitoring we carried out at the SeaGen tidal turbine in Strangford Lough was instrumental in allowing the continuing development of the global tidal stream energy industry – read about our past work on that project here and about our current work monitoring marine mammals at the world’s first commercial tidal stream array with MeyGen here.
Do we want to kick start an industry where the UK can reasonably expect (and plan) to be a global leader or technologies where the economic gain often goes abroad? Do we want to take advantage of a resource which we know for certain will be available for as far ahead as we can see, or to leave the debate still rumbling on with our grandchildren asking why we did not harness the power of the tides, when we knew how to and had the opportunity? Charles Hendry
Image: A visualisation of the proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon power scheme. Tidal Lagoon Power/PA