Dragon-shaped island made up of 10,000 floating homes could generate zero-carbon power for Wales for more 100 years with underwater turbines, developers say
A dragon-shaped island with up to 10,000 floating homes would put Swansea ‘on the global stage‘, according to the innovator behind the project.
Dragon Energy Island – shaped to resemble the dragon from the Welsh national flag – has been proposed as part of the city‘s revived tidal lagoon project (TLP).
The £1.3 billion project, led by Malcolm Copson, who‘s working with the Swansea Bay City Region‘s task force, was scrapped by the UK Government last year over costs.
It is now claimed that the new scheme would be cheaper because the proposed island would have underwater turbines to produce electricity.
The ambitious proposal says the giant turbines could generate zero-carbon power for Swansea and beyond for more than a century and would not need financial backing from the UK government, according to TLP.
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Councils and other public sector organisations could buy electricity directly from the energy island, according to the project team.
Concept images have also been released, which show retail units, an underwater data centre, a solar farm, and facilities to produce pure hydrogen and oxygen for storage or for sale.
Mr Copson, from Hong Kong-based company MOI Imagineering, said the inclusion of up to 10,000 floating homes would make the revised tidal lagoon scheme financially viable.
The CEO‘s work includes Disneyland Paris and the Atlantis, the Palm resort on Dubai‘s famous artificial Palm Jumeirah.
He urged the public to ‘embrace‘ his plan and give Swansea a chance to lead the world and develop an industry of global significance, creating thousands of jobs.
The previous lagoon project in Swansea Bay designed to generate clean energy from the tides was not supported by the Westminster government because of the significant running costs, including an annual fee running into several million pounds to the Crown Estate.
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Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said the project was ‘not value for money‘, despite claims by developers that a revised offer made it cheaper.
Mr Copson said: ‘There are already several examples of floating, modular home developments across the planet – including Holland, which is below sea level and has a similar climate to Swansea Bay. This is the way the world is going.
‘But many plans for similar developments – in cities like New Orleans in the USA, for example – are still on the drawing board.
‘This is a signature project that would put Swansea on the global stage as a visionary city.‘
Mr Copson said that houses would float on giant platforms and be protected by a sea wall, with ‘innovative solutions‘ planned for sewage and waste.
An independent report into the feasibility of the project will be considered by the Swansea Bay City Region‘s Joint Committee on Tuesday.
Those behind the project hope construction could start in 2021, with the island potentially fully operational by the end of 2026.
WHY WAS THE TIDAL LAGOON PROJECT THROWN OUT BY THE GOVERNMENT?
Plans to build the world‘s first tidal power lagoon were thrown out by the UK government last year in what developers called a ‘sad day for Wales‘.
The decision to shut it down was slammed by local politicians across the parties, including the Conservatives.
The scheme off Swansea Bay had £200m backing from the Welsh Government but the UK government said it would not pay Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP) the fee it wants for energy.
Business secretary Greg Clark told the Commons when much cheaper alternatives exist, no individual project, and no particular technology, can proceed ‘at any price‘.
Government analysis estimated that the lagoon would cost the average British household consumer an additional £700 between 2031 and 2050.
But TLP chief executive Mark Shorrock said the figures were wrong, adding that offshore wind projects had received £8bn in subsidies and the “path finder” tidal lagoon project needed £25m a year “in order to kick start an industry”.