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£1.7 billion tidal lagoon project announced for Abertawe

'Blue Eden' (Image: DST).

A new £1.7 billion project will create "thousands of well-paid jobs" and will place Cymru "at the forefront of renewable energy innovation."

The "ground-breaking" project proposed for Abertawe's waterfront will include a newly-designed tidal lagoon, featuring "state-of-the-art" underwater turbines generating 320 megawatts of renewable energy from the 9.5km structure.

The lagoon is part of the larger proposed Blue Eden project that's being led by Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr-Bridgend-based DST Innovations and a number of business partners, with support from Abertawe 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 Abertawe.

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.

It is said that Blue Eden will create over 2,500 permanent jobs and support a further 16,000 jobs across Cymru 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. 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.

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."

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

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