The Welsh Government has opened its Tidal Lagoon Challenge Fund. The fund is worth £750,000 and will support innovative research that will help to reduce or remove the barriers that are preventing tidal range schemes being developed. The fund was first announced in March at the Marine Energy Wales conference by the First Minister and details have now been released on the criteria and award categories.
Welsh Government ambition for a tidal lagoon in Welsh waters
Welsh minister for climate change Julie James said: “In Wales we are uniquely blessed with the second highest tidal range in the world, providing us opportunities to utilise the huge renewable energy resource on our coastline to help address the climate emergency.
“That is why, as part of our Programme for Government, we set out that we would hold a tidal lagoon challenge, as part of our commitment to make Wales a world centre for emerging tidal technologies.
“We believe the tidal lagoon challenge has an important role to play in realising the Welsh Government’s ambition for a tidal lagoon to be developed in Welsh waters. I am excited to see the bold ideas and thinking that applicants will share with us and look forward to the outcomes of the research.”
Tidal range technologies are largely untested at scale, although there are some examples of successful schemes overseas in France’s 240MW capacity tidal barrage on the River Rance and South Korea’s 254MW capacity Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station.
The Welsh Government will make at least one award in each of the three categories:
- Engineering and technical
- Socio-Economic and financial
The Welsh Government will also consider research proposals which do not address the research priorities set out, where the research project can demonstrate that it will either reduce barriers to future tidal range development or test the potential benefits of tidal range projects.
- Challenge Open: 28 June 2023
- Deadline for submission of stage 1 application form: 18 September 2023
- Notification of outcome of shortlisting: October 2023
- Deadline for submission of stage 2 application form for further assessment: January 2024
- Award to successful applicants: March 2024
Further details of the Challenge Fund can be found here.