blank
Connect with us

Environment

Blue Eden: £1.7bn third proposal for a Swansea tidal lagoon announced

Published

on

A £1.7bn renewable energy proposal for Swansea includes a newly-designed tidal lagoon, featuring state-of-the-art underwater turbines generating 320 megawatts of renewable energy from the 9.5km structure. 

The proposal by an international consortium is funded entirely by private finance.

The lagoon is part of the larger proposed Blue Eden project that’s being led by Bridgend-based DST Innovations and a number of business partners, with support from Swansea Council and Associated British Ports.

Made possible by funding from the private sector, the innovative and economy-boosting Blue Eden will be delivered in three phases over 12 years. The project also includes:

  • A 60,000 square metre manufacturing plant to make high-tech batteries for renewable energy storage
  • A battery facility that will store the renewable energy produced at Blue Eden and power the site. If constructed now, it would be the world’s largest facility of its kind
  • A 72,000 square metre floating solar array anchored in the Queen’s dock area, helping offset CO2 emissions by an estimated two million kilogrammes a year. This would be the UK’s largest facility of its kind, with potential for expansion
  • A 94,000 square metre data centre storing, processing and providing network capabilities for the critical services needed in modern day operations. Entirely powered by an uninterruptable renewable energy power supply, this would be the UK’s first centre of its kind 
  • An oceanic and climate change research centre that will become a hub for global excellence and innovation
  • Floating dome structures that will become cultural and scientific centres to be enjoyed by all
  • Residential waterfront homes for 5,000 people 
  • Approximately 150 floating, highly energy-efficient eco-homes anchored in the water

Blue Eden will be sited along an extensive area of land and water, to the south of the Prince of Wales Dock in the SA1 area of Swansea.

All the project’s buildings and facilities, including the eco-homes, will be situated alongside the lagoon and will utilise and enhance the existing land in the area.

Blue Eden will create over 2,500 permanent jobs and support a further 16,000 jobs across Wales and the UK, while creating additional jobs during its construction.

Renewable energy produced on site will power the entire Blue Eden development, including businesses and a mixed development of affordable housing, assisted living areas and luxury apartments. Due to the innovation on-site, each home will have up to 20 years’ renewable energy and heat provision included with the sale of the properties.

The announcement comes as world leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow later this week for the COP26 summit to tackle climate change.

Advertisement

Tony Miles, Co-founder and Chief Executive of DST Innovations, said: “Blue Eden is an opportunity to create a template for the world to follow – utilising renewable energy and maximising new technologies and thinking to develop not only a place to live and work, but also to thrive.”

DST’s proposed battery manufacturing facility

The project has been developed following discussions based on a vision put forward by a regional task force led by Swansea Council.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “We are aware now more than ever of the need to develop renewable energy supplies to provide sustainable and affordable electricity to families and businesses.

“Blue Eden will put Swansea and Wales at the cutting-edge of global renewable energy innovation, helping create thousands of well-paid jobs, significantly cut our carbon footprint and further raise Swansea’s profile across the world as a place to invest. 

“I’m delighted that an international consortium led by a Welsh company has developed our Dragon Energy Island vision into a ground-breaking project that delivers so many benefits and builds on the council’s ambition to become a net zero city by 2050.

“This project truly is a game-changer for Swansea, its economy and renewable energy in the UK, and crucially it can be delivered without the need for government subsidies.” 

Advertisement
Artists impression of the proposed Data Centre (Image: DST)

Julie James, Member of the Senedd for Swansea West, said: “It’s so exciting to see this Swansea-based project moving forward at such an important time for Wales and the world. It will bring cutting-edge innovation and research, thousands of high-quality green jobs, excellent low carbon homes and abundant renewable energy. I am delighted to see both Swansea and Wales right up at the top of global innovation and decarbonisation, as it should be.

“The project will include a tidal lagoon, featuring state-of-the-art underwater turbines generating 320 megawatts of renewable energy. Swansea has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world, and this scheme will allow us to utilise the energy it provides to support our planet for future generations in a world-leading project we can all be proud of.

“Renewable energy produced on site will power the entire development, including businesses and a mixed development of affordable housing, assisted living areas and luxury apartments.”

Floating homes such as this are also proposed (Image: Blue 21)

Andrew Harston, Director of Wales and Short Sea Ports for ABP, said: “We are engaged in discussions around the Blue Eden project which could deliver renewable energy, new homes and skilled jobs. This innovative prototype has the potential to be a first for the UK and bring Britain closer to our net zero target.

“This is an exciting project. If delivered alongside ABP’s own vision for South Wales, the Blue Eden Project could put the region at the very forefront of decarbonisation and digitalisation in Wales and at the vanguard of the energy transition journey and zero carbon living in the developed world.”

Senator Joe Manchin, Senator for West Virginia and Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said: “The pioneering work being carried out by DST and Batri in both Wales and West Virginia, USA, is a shining example of global collaboration working at its best, delivering innovative solutions that provide substantial contributions to both our war on climate change, and sustaining jobs in our communities.”

An image of the proposed tidal lagoon infrastructure (Image: DST)

In a joint statement, Henry Dixon, Chair of the Tidal Range Alliance, and Simon Hamlyn, Chief Executive of the British Hydropower Association, said: “The innovative and exciting Blue Eden project underlines the value of reliable renewable energy generation from a tidal lagoon.

“At a time when future energy security and stability is being questioned, the Tidal Range Alliance welcomes the launch of DST Innovation’s project.

Advertisement

“Alongside other schemes along the west coast of the UK, tidal range power generation has the potential to supply 5% to 10% of the country’s energy needs, reliably and predictably, unlike other intermittent renewables such as wind and solar.”

This is the third proposal for a tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay. Former proposals included a ‘Dragon Energy Island’ with a Dubai-style island in the shape of a Welsh dragon.

The original Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon was kicked into the long grass in 2018 after failing to agree terms with the UK Government.

At the time, the then Business Secretary Greg Hands MP said of the original proposal: “The inescapable conclusion of an extensive analysis is, however novel and appealing the proposal that has been made is the cost that would be incurred by consumers and taxpayers would be so much higher than alternative sources of low-carbon power that it would be irresponsible to enter into a contract with the provider.” 

Subject to planning consent, Blue Eden work on site could start by early 2023.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Business

New Swansea processing facility will ‘recycle the unrecyclable’

Published

on

By

Resource recovery expert Fiberight has set up a new facility and Centre of Excellence in Swansea that will use innovative resource recovery techniques to increase the capture of materials from waste for the production of market-ready recycled materials.

Based at the Westfield industrial estate in Waunarlwydd, the plant will recover and recycle valuable resources from household waste using Fiberight’s core water-based process, HYDRACYCLE™.

This economically sustainable process captures more than 70% of recyclable materials in the household waste stream, including packaging such as bottles, bags, wrappers, tubs and trays, plus food waste, paper/card, metals and aggregates (glass and grit). Recovered materials will be recycled and used in higher value products for the circular economy.

The plant’s current capacity is 12,000 tonnes a year to enable Fiberight to conduct R&D and validation work. The initial input feedstock comprises plastic-rich materials rejected from waste sorting facilities (MRFs) across England and Wales. This reject stream contains significant amounts of recyclable materials that can be recovered and recycled along circular economy principles – capturing these lost resources.

Nick Thompson, co-founder and Managing Director of Fiberight Ltd explains that Wales was chosen as it is the ‘leading UK nation in terms of recycling rates and resource recovery’.

He says: “Having developed the concept for a ‘resource refinery’ or ‘manufacturing facility that uses waste as a feedstock’ more than ten years ago, we have developed a unique process that is now tried and tested.”

Nick emphasises how their concept brings processing infrastructure to the UK, rather than relying on exporting to other countries to ‘finish the job’, adding: “This creates a massive opportunity in the UK to take the hundreds of millions of pounds of value lost by burning, burying or exporting waste and turn it into high value resources, which can be fed back into our manufacturing industry. As both national government and local authorities seek better processes and strategies to deal with waste, we are here to demonstrate we can deliver it.”

Advertisement

In early 2022, the capacity will increase to 40,000 tonnes a year as a pre-commercial facility and employ local people. Long term, the aim is to create a 120,000-tonne commercial plant by 2026 with 40 jobs.

Processing waste via HYDRACYCLE™ significantly reduces carbon emissions by minimising the volume of waste requiring end of life disposal. The process saves 780kg CO2 emissions per tonne of waste input by recovering and recycling waste that would typically be buried or burnt.

A typical HYDRACYCLE™ plant will deliver the equivalent carbon saving of removing more than 20,000 petrol cars from the road each year when compared to business-as-usual landfill and/or incineration.

To facilitate the plant’s development, existing equipment and items from Fiberight’s US demonstration facility has been repurposed for the Swansea site. Fiberight has also been supported by various R&D-funded projects, including Innovate UK and the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU).

In addition to creating skilled jobs, Fiberight’s plant will see the output from the paper and card found in waste being used as animal bedding, biomass fuel, or converted into high end sugars for chemicals production processes; and the plastics will be separated and transformed into a range of materials and fuels. Any true residual waste would be used for energy generation.

Looking ahead, Fiberight aims to establish the facility as a Centre of Excellence that will demonstrate the core HYDRACYCLE™ process – plus several bolt-on technologies all in one location – recovering and recycling a variety of waste materials into high value products.

Advertisement

The concept is to showcase what can be achieved by taking this new, innovative circular approach and how much value can be realised from mixed waste streams. Alongside commercial operations, R&D work will continue, including testing different feedstocks as well as responding to new opportunities.

Nick adds: “Our next generation recycling technology captures around 70%-plus of whatever waste a council isn’t recycling and transforms it into valuable recycled materials and products. We are excited to be part of an active sector in Wales which is open to new innovation and approaches.”

Continue Reading

Carmarthenshire

Scrub removal at Pembrey will improve dunes for biodiversity say environment body

Published

on

By

Scrub provides a splash of greenery in our sandy spaces, but too much scrub smothers the sand dunes and has a devastating effect on the specialist plants and invertebrates which live there according to Natural Resources Wales

This winter the Welsh environment body will be removing non-native, invasive plant species from areas of dune at Pembrey to help wildlife thrive.

The coast around Pembrey is home to 20% of all the plants in Wales and features a large sand dune system. Sand dunes are listed as the habitat type most at risk of biodiversity loss in Europe.

The Dynamic Dunescapes project, funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered in Wales by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), is working at Pembrey with Carmarthenshire County Council’s Outdoor Recreation Service to improve the condition of these dunes for wildlife.

Some non-native plant species, like the dense scrub plant sea buckthorn, are invasive and they are growing quickly in this dune system – spreading further across large areas of dune each year. Many of the dunes’ rare and specialist wildlife needs bare sand or low grassland habitat to survive and gets lost under or outcompeted by scrub. If scrub growth is not controlled, it will cause species like lizards, orchids and dune pansies to suffer and disappear from our sand dunes.

Scrub removal in specifically chosen locations will help to restore the habitat types that these species need, and this work will play a part in ensuring the dunes at Pembrey have a healthy, biodiverse future. Improving the ecological condition here will increase this coastal landscape’s resilience to other threats, such as extreme weather events and changing conditions brought on by climate change in the future.

The first phase of this work is to take place in Pembrey Country Park around Car Park 8 and the second will take place on the foredunes in front of the Welsh Government Woodland Estate which is managed by NRW. It is scheduled to begin in the last week of November and will last for two weeks. There will be a temporary closure of Factory Road outside the Country Park for one week – reopening on 5th December.

Advertisement

Ruth Harding, Senior Environment Officer at Natural Resources Wales, said: “Sea Buckthorn control is important to improve the dune grassland habitats at Pembrey. Carmarthenshire County Council and Natural Resources Wales have carried out this type of habitat management over a number of years which has resulted in restoring the area to a dune grassland rich with different species of plants. You can best enjoy this during the summer months within the Pembrey Burrows and Saltings Local Nature Reserve. As part of Dynamic Dunescapes, we are now continuing this work, which will result in an overall increase in dune grassland habitat.”

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for leisure, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths said: “Whilst scrub is a valuable habitat it does need management to maintain it in good condition for wildlife. Cutting back the scrub will ensure it does not spread into areas where is not wanted and or where it can destroy other habitat.”

Dynamic Dunescapes is not the only project working to restore Pembrey’s important sand dunes. The EU LIFE-funded Sands of LIFE project, managed by (NRW), has also been undertaking sand dune management to improve conditions for wildlife in recent years. The two projects work closely to build on and support each other’s work.

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Environment

Funding secured to design collapsed Cimla culvert repair

Published

on

By

Neath Port Talbot Council has secured Welsh Government funding of £100,000 to design a replacement for the vital culvert at Castle Drive in Cimla, Neath, which collapsed due to torrential rainfall in October.

The funding will also be used for the diversion of essential utility services which were compromised by the collapse during the evening of 4 October, 2021.

The road had to be closed both to vehicles and pedestrians for safety reasons following the collapse.

The downstream section of the carriageway had been undermined by the washing away of a supporting embankment. Following more investigations, the upstream pedestrian footway was reopened allowing a vital link for pupils to access Crynallt Infant School.

The council’s Engineering Section will now use the funding to undertake the design of a new, larger culvert and it is anticipated physical work on the scheme will start this Spring subject to further funding for other elements of the project and the completion of the design work, a tendering process for contractors plus the diversion of utility services.

Cllr Mike Harvey, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Engineering said: “We are grateful for the funding which means we can now start preparing to repair the damage caused on a night when emergency services across South West Wales were ‘inundated’ with calls for help due to widespread flooding.

“The very heavy and prolonged rainfall washed away an embankment which meant the road had to be shut for public safety and we will now endeavour to reinstate the damaged infrastructure in Castle Drive, restoring through traffic  as soon as we possibly can.

Advertisement

“We would like to thank local residents for their patience following the disruption caused by the collapse. The restoration work will be a major engineering project but the results will be robust and long lasting.”

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Swansea Bay News