Julie James, Minister for Climate Change
We know that the climate and nature emergencies are some of the most pressing issues we face. In light of these dual crises, it is imperative that we utilise all of our resources to reduce our energy consumption, but also to generate more clean energy. 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. In March the First Minister announced the £750,000 grant fund for the tidal lagoon challenge, and I am delighted, today to open the tidal lagoon challenge for applications.
The tidal lagoon challenge will directly support innovative research that will work to:
- Reduce or remove a barrier that is currently preventing tidal lagoons being developed.
For example reducing environmental uncertainty by addressing evidence gaps relating to "different elements of the environment that are most likely to be affected by tidal lagoon development.
- Quantify a potential benefit of tidal lagoon development.
For example valuing the energy system benefit of predictable tidal lagoon energy.
The Welsh Government will make awards within three categories:
- Engineering and Technical
- Finance and Socio-Economic
These categories address the breadth of knowledge that applies to the issue of tidal lagoons and will allow a wide range of relevant research to be brought forward.
The work of the tidal lagoon challenge will enable the application of research excellence to the tidal lagoon sector and support the growth of a knowledge base that will smooth the path to future tidal lagoon delivery in Wales.
We believe the tidal lagoon challenge has an important role to play in realising the Welsh Governments 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.
The tidal lagoon challenge will be open to applications until 18 September 2023. We anticipate that we be able to announce the winners of the challenge in Spring 2024.