General Electric (GE) and Andritz Hydro have been named preferred bidders on the $1.5 billion Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon infrastructure project. Slated for completion in 2018, the project will be the world’s first man-made, energy-generating lagoon. GE and Andritz Hydro will build 16 bi-direction turbines for the power plant as part of the more than $450 million contract.
Tidal Lagoon Power, developer of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, had set a target for 50 percent of the capital expenditures related to the project to stay in Wales and 65 percent altogether to stay in the UK. While the two winning companies are not based in the UK—GE and Andritz Hydro are based in the United States and Austria, respectively—the majority of the large turbine components will be British. The winning bidders have also committed to using British generators and to the operation of a dockside turbine assembly plant in Wales. Tidal Lagoon Power has shortlisted three potential sites in the Swansea Bay City Region for a 100,000-sq-foot turbine assembly plant.
The turbines will be based on Andritz Hydro technology. According to Tidal Lagoon Power, the turbine design for Swansea Bay will delivers 93 percent efficiency on the ebb tide and 81 percent efficiency on the flood tide.
GE will assemble the generators at its Rugby facility. Industrial facilities in Swansea Bay, Pembrokeshire, Monmouthshire, Carmarthenshire, Mid Glamorgan, Vale of Glamorgan, South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Merseyside, South Tyneside, Greater Manchester, North Lincolnshire and Cumbria are among those seeking to secure contracts from GE and Andritz Hydro to supply turbine and generator components.
GE and Andritz Hydro have also been selected as preferred bidders for the $38.1 million contract to manage the operations and maintenance of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon power plant for at least five years.
Tidal Lagoon Power said it will follow the Swansea Bay project with five full-scale tidal lagoons in UK waters. Between them, the six projects could provide 8 percent of the UK’s electricity for the next 120 years.