The Tidal Lagoon Challenge, initiated as a Programme for Government commitment, aims to position Wales as a global hub for emerging marine technologies. Launched in June 2024, it allocated a £750,000 grant fund to projects targeting two main objectives:

  • overcoming barriers to tidal lagoon development; and
  • quantifying potential benefits.

Examples included addressing environmental uncertainties and assessing the energy system benefits of tidal lagoon energy.

The three winners were announced in March 2024, with projects spanning environmental, engineering, technical, socio-economic, and financial domains.

The three winning applications were:

  1. Swansea University: focussing on fish migration data and developing an acoustic fish deterrence system.
  2. Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult: an initiative aiming to maximize the value of tidal range power through flexible lagoon operation.
  3. Cardiff University in collaboration with partners: to explore ownership, equity, and financing models for tidal lagoon schemes, aiming to boost the Welsh economy.


Climate Change Minister Julie James alongside the winning project leads. Credit: Marine Energy Wales Conference 2024


These initiatives aim to faciliate Wales’ commitment to advancing sustainable energy solutions while fostering economic growth and innovation in the marine sector.

Dr David Clarke from Swansea University added: “This is great news, the funding will support migration studies looking at movements of acoustically tagged Atlantic salmon, sea trout and twaite shad, enabling us to understand the risks of marine renewables to these species.

“It will also enable us to develop and refine mitigation techniques – acoustic fish deterrence- to better protect these important natural assets.”

At the conference, the Climate Change Minister Julie James also announced that up to £1m will be match funded by Milford Haven Port Authority for preparatory work to enable future floating offshore wind projects to deploy from Pembroke.

We are a strong supporter of marine energy and the incredible opportunity presented by Wales’s coastline.

“Congratulations to each of these projects. I am excited how the research will help to move the tidal lagoon sector in Wales forward by developing the tidal lagoon schemes whilst also recognising the potential value of this work for other marine industries.”

This builds on a similar match-funded grant made to Associated British Ports for early-stage work at Port Talbot announced in January 2023.

Tom Sawyer, Chief Executive at the Port of Milford Haven, said:

“Offshore renewable energy offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring sustainable economic growth and rewarding careers for our current and future generations”.

“This early-stage, preparatory work is an important first step in realising our ambition to create a future energy ready port facility at Pembroke Port, helping our region get a head-start in the global race to host developers of floating offshore wind (FLOW) technology”.

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