Andritz, GE receive contract for 320-MW Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project

Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay

A consortium that includes General Electric and Andritz Hydro has been selected by developer Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay PLC (TLSB) as the preferred bidder for the supply of electromechanical equipment for the proposed 320-MW Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon in Wales.

The firms, selected after an international bidding process, have signed an advanced works agreement with a total value of around US$452.5 million. Andritz will fulfill around $282.8 million of the contract, with GE claiming the remainder.

The companies will farm out supply contracts for turbine and generator components, TLSB said, with facilities at a number of British industrial centers receiving primary consideration. The parts would then be assembled at a plant in the Swansea Bay region at an initial rate of one 7.35-meter-diamter turbine per month, before scaling up to ship at least one turbine per week by 2018.

“Today’s announcement by these two global businesses is a massive vote of confidence in our highly skilled workforce,” Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb said. “This project, if planning consent is granted, has the potential to transform the South Wales economy by creating hundreds of jobs and countless supply chain opportunities for local businesses across the region.”

The Swansea Bay project will include a 9.5-kilometer-long sea wall that is to be dotted with hydro turbines along its length. Rising and falling tides would provide the kinetic motion needed for energy production.

The project was accepted for consideration by the United Kingdom’s Planning inspectorate last March, qualifying it as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) under the UK’s Planning Act of 2008.

“The government has demonstrated its commitment to tidal energy by naming the Swansea Bay project in its National Infrastructure Plan, and I do believe this technology has the broad support of the British public,” said Mark Pawsey, Member of Parliament for Rugby & Bulkington. “This innovative project marks the next step in the development of next-generation low-carbon energy and I welcome the opportunities it will bring.”

TLSB said it ultimately envisions a number of such tidal projects around the UK.

“The technical concept is based on decades of experience with similar equipment in low-head power stations, as well as managerial skills in handling very large projects to the optimum benefit in the project,” Andritz Hydro CEO Wolfgang Semper said. “With that, our consortium provides the leadership and resources to make this world’s first tidal lagoon the footprint for a new UK industry.”

HydroWorld.com reported last August that TLSB had selected Atkins Global as client’s engineer for the project in August. The developer announced financial services firm Prudential had agreed to become a “cornerstone investor” in the project in October.

Commercial operation is scheduled for 2019.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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