The Chair welcomed Cllr R. Stewart the Chair of the Swansea Bay City Region Joint Committee.
Cllr. R. Stewart provided a verbal update on the Tidal Lagoon.
It was noted that disappointment was felt across the region when the UK Government was not in support of the previous proposal on the Tidal Lagoon. Following this, a statement was produced detailing ways of re-establishing the lagoon proposal and a Task Force was established. This Task Force has been in existence for the past 6 months to explore options of how the lagoon could be funded, procured and operated differently. The work of this Task Force was positively received by Welsh Government. The core question relating to ‘making this an investable proposition that can be delivered potentially more cheaply’ that was detailed within the Tidal Lagoon review report had been addressed. Welsh Government were provided with the core elements of the lagoon proposal with some additional opportunities which would be considered as part of the proposal, such as the ‘Floating Solar’ and ‘Floating Housing’ elements.
The committee were informed that in terms of the process, the project had been advertised to the market and there had been 11 interested from the Prior Information Notice (PIN) notice 5 of which were international companies. Welsh Government were reassured that there was market interest and that it would be cost effective. Welsh Government would shortly be making an announcement on how they would formally respond to the options declared by the task force.
It was requested that a copy of the Tidal Lagoon review report be circulated to the Committee.
Members thanked Cllr R. Stewart for his comments and queried the revised land around housing and the location of the Tidal Lagoon as this may have an impact on the Local Authorities and their Local Development Plans. It was noted that discussions on this between partners would be beneficial and timely. Officers clarified that all partners were fully engaged in the Task Force Meetings. However, if the ‘Floating Housing’ element was to be located on Neath Port Talbot land then there would be consideration and discussions in relation to the Local Development Plans on a regional basis moving forward.
It was asked whether ‘Floating Houses’ would be funded by the private sector or, if there would be input from the Local Authorities. It was identified that the modelling of this would be largely private sector funded, however there would be an opportunity for Welsh and UK Governments to provide capital. In terms of local authorities contributions that wasn’t being proposed.
In response to Members queries, it was noted that Swansea had been exploring options in terms of investigating energy companies to harness energy from the Lagoon.
It was queried how much information had been required from the original architects of the project such as an understanding of the finances of the projects as well as practicalities. It was highlighted that the company involved with the original proposal had been very cooperative and was one of the 11 companies that responded to the PIN notice. It was also noted that the previous proposal wouldn’t generated a return on investment over eighty years, however, the new proposals envisage returns over a much shorter timescale and converting the energy to hydrogen would have a better return overall.
Following scrutiny the report was noted