The Government should push ahead with a tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay as soon as possible, more than 100 MPs have urged.
A cross-party letter signed by 107 MPs including former Tory ministers Stephen Crabb and Nicky Morgan, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron and Welsh and west country MPs urged Business Secretary Greg Clark to act on a recent review of the technology.
The Government-commissioned review by former energy minister Charles Hendry said developing a tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay could start a “new global industry” for the price of a pint of milk per household per year.
Lagoons that use the power of the tides to generate electricity could play a “cost-effective” role in the energy mix, help with security of supply, cut carbon emissions and bring opportunities for the UK supply chain, Mr Hendry said.
He called for the Government to move ahead with a smaller “pathfinder” lagoon project, to build on work already done for a scheme in Swansea Bay whose bid for subsidies prompted the review.
The letter from the MPs drew comparisons with offshore wind, where the UK’s role as world leader in the technology was now leading to a reduction in subsidies for the clean energy source.
“We believe we should do the same thing with tidal lagoons – support the development of new technologies and allow them to stand on their two feet later, having established a successful and important addition to our energy mix,” it said.
Tidal lagoons could answer many of the ambitions in the recently announced Government industrial strategy, including boosting new technology skills, helping new sectors flourish, develop supply chains and moving to a low carbon economy, the letter said.
It called on Mr Clark to respond to the recommendations of the review and start negotiations on the Swansea Bay pathfinder lagoon as soon as possible.
Tory MP for Gloucester and chairman of the All Party Group for Marine Energy and Tidal Lagoons Richard Graham said: “Former energy minister Charles Hendry started his review as a sceptic and ended as an enthusiast.
“He was very clear in urging the Government to give the green light for a pathfinder in Swansea – the world’s first ever tidal lagoon – and then see whether the experience justified going ahead with much larger future lagoons.
“There is a large amount of support in Parliament for this and many of us believe that tidal lagoons meet the aims of the Government’s new industrial strategy.
“Clearly the Business Secretary and the Chancellor will want to be sure the pathfinder is affordable in the context of delivering secure, domestic, low carbon and diversified sources of energy.
“Our letter is to urge the Government not to delay in responding positively to the recommendations and getting the financial talks for the pathfinder under way.”