General Electric and Andritz Hydro have been appointed as preferred bidders to the £1 billion Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon infrastructure project.
The two companies, bidding together for the £300m contract to supply sixteen bidirectional turbines to the tidal lagoon power plant, have committed to a majority of British large turbine components, to British generators, and to the operation of a dockside Turbine Assembly Plant in Wales that will employ an initial 100 skilled workers.
The turbines will be based on well-proven Andritz Hydro global technology.
Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb said: “Today’s announcement by these two global businesses is a massive vote of confidence in our highly skilled workforce.
“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.
“It would also help secure our nation’s energy future and position Wales as a pioneer in low carbon technology. That’s why I am right behind this scheme and want to see it built in Wales.”
The project’s sixteen generators will be produced at GE’s Rugby facility. In addition, GE is working on plans to potentially reshore its medium voltage switchboard operations for the UK tidal lagoon industry at its Kidsgrove facility. This could create further UK jobs and position GE well for further tidal opportunities in the UK, TLP wrote.
Mark Pawsey, Member of Parliament for Rugby & Bulkington said: “I am delighted that my constituency of Rugby, with its long established links to the power generation industry, will be at the forefront of this fantastic opportunity to develop tidal energy.
“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. This innovative project marks the next step in the development of next generation low-carbon energy and I welcome the opportunities it will bring to Rugby.”
Local Kidsgrove MP and chair of the Commons Environmental Audit Select Committee, Joan Walleycommented: “Having lived in Swansea, I know this announcement is cause for celebration there. But it is also good news for those of us pressing to create and retain jobs in Kidsgrove. By committing to investment in renewables we can help meet the carbon budget and at the same time create skilled local employment. I welcome this link between Swansea and Staffordshire.”
Working with the Welsh Government, Tidal Lagoon Power, developer of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, has shortlisted three potential sites in the Swansea Bay City Region (comprising Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire) for a 100,000 square foot Turbine Assembly Plant that will scale operations as the sector develops at home and internationally.
Initially employing 100 skilled workers and capable of shipping one 7.35m diameter runner turbine a month, the facility is expected to scale operations by six times by 2018, shipping at least one turbine a week as the UK moves to the construction of full-scale tidal lagoons.
Roger Evans, MBE who chairs the Tidal Lagoon Industry Advisory Group, said: “While Britain does not have a top turbine OEM, it does have the industrial heritage, the skills and a capable supply chain ready to supply the majority of the components involved. The developer has been crystal clear in its intention to buy British. Our group will now work to prepare British industry to hit scale quickly and in so doing create a brand new global industry based in the UK.”
Joe Mastrangelo, CEO & President at GE Power Conversion: “Led by world industrial leaders, Swansea Bay tidal project represents a milestone in tidal development. Learning from extensive naval expertise, GE is a reliable partner in tidal energy for both generation of energy and connection to the grid. GE is excited to be part of this journey, contributing to our core technology to revolutionise the future of energy generation.”
Wolfgang Semper, CEO at Andritz Hydro and Andritz board member: “We are delighted to bring over 150 years of hydro & marine generation experience to this massively important UK tidal project. 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. With that our consortium provides the leadership and resources to make this world’s first tidal lagoon the footprint for a new UK industry.”
Mark Shorrock, CEO at Tidal Lagoon Power, added : “Tidal lagoons will employ British industry to harness a British natural resource and return profits to British institutions. We are now well placed to meet the targets we set ourselves for 50% of the capital expenditure for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon to stay in Wales, rising to 65% for the UK as a whole. The project will lay the strongest possible foundations for a brand new industry in which Britain can lead the world.
“Over the past two years, our team has been lucky enough to work alongside the world’s three largest hydro turbine manufacturers who between them are responsible for some 70% of all hydro turbines ever sold. Together, we have iterated a bespoke turbine design for Swansea Bay that delivers 93% efficiency on the ebb tide and 81% efficiency on the flood tide. Now with GE and Andritz we will make the very most of the first-mover advantage on offer to Welsh and wider UK industry. The Turbine Assembly Plant in South Wales is the very embodiment of this and with turbine partners committed to operate the facility, we’ll work with Welsh Government to get the job done.”
General Electric and Andritz Hydro have also been selected as preferred bidders for the £25m contract to manage the operations and maintenance of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon power plant for a minimum of five years.