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Trougher Charles Hendry To Take Charge Of “Independent “ Review Into Tidal Lagoons

May 6, 2016

By Paul Homewood  


h/t Philip Bratby


Former MP, Charles Hendry


In February, DECC announced an independent review into the feasibility and practicality of tidal lagoon energy in the UK.

Today the news has been released that the review will be led by former MP, Charles Hendry. From DECC:


The Independent Review of Tidal Lagoons will be led by industry expert Charles Hendry, supported by a team of seconded civil servants.

Charles Hendry brings a wealth of experience to the role. He was Minister of State for Energy from May 2010 until September 2012. Since leaving ministerial office Charles Hendry has undertaken a wide range of roles, including as President of the British Institute of Energy Economics, chair of the Forewind Consortium from 2013-2015, and Commissioner of the UK Pavilion at the Future Energy Expo in Kazakhstan 2017.

The review will assess the strategic case for tidal lagoons and whether they could play a cost effective role as part of the UK energy mix. The review will also help establish an evidence base to ensure all decisions made regarding tidal lagoon energy are in the best interest of the UK. Its findings are expected to be announced in the Autumn.


It is not immediately apparent how “independent” the review will be, given Hendry’s background as Minister of State for Energy. Worse still, since being sacked as Minister, he has been well rewarded as Chairman of the Forewind Consortium. Forewind, of course, is the consortium of RWE, SSE, Statoil and Statkraft, which was set up to develop the giant Dogger Bank offshore wind farm.

Hendry succeeded John Gummer as Chairman, after the latter took over as head of the Committee on Climate Change.   

In the last Register of Interests before Hendry stood down as MP at last year’s election, he declared earnings of £48000 from Forewind.

In addition, there was a further £7500 from  his role of Senior Adviser to Atlantic Superconnection Corporation (formerly Atlantic Supergrid Corporation Ltd), a company researching the scope for a transmission cable between Iceland and the UK/continental Europe. While Minister of State, he signed the bilateral agreement with Iceland to bring power harnessed from Iceland’s volcanoes to Britain through undersea cables.

Finally, he also declared earnings of £35000 from Vitol Group, an energy trading and service company.


It is clear that Hendry will not bring any “independence” in any shape or form to the review. But then, was not that the objective in the first place?

  1. May 6, 2016 7:11 pm

    It is said that “This review will take place in consultation with the relevant Government departments – in particular DECC and HMT for financial aspects.” It also says “We expect that Tidal Lagoon Power, the proposed developers of Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, and other industry stakeholders will take part in the review while discussions about Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon continue.”

    Thus there is no indication that a consultation will take place or that anybody not having a vested interest in the the industry will be allowed to take part in the review. We know what the outcome will be.

    • John Palmer permalink
      May 6, 2016 8:08 pm

      Looking at this trougher’s CV, it’s probably the last step towards some kind of ‘gong’ or other. For services to the feed-from-the teat brigade.
      An OBE or a Knighthood must surely be the least that he can expect for such diligent, analytical and supremely unbiased work.
      Fat B******ds!!

      • May 6, 2016 8:43 pm

        You are too kind to him. Lord Hendry of Troughend seems appropriate.

  2. May 6, 2016 9:31 pm

    DECC and “independent” ? …


    If they can supply competitively priced electricity then fair enough – but everybody knows this is simply one of those tortured bureaucratic exercises that will end up “justifying” a different, much higher price for the “renewable” electrons…

    Appointing somebody like this is just the cherry on the top – they’re ‘avin a larf ….

  3. Mark permalink
    May 6, 2016 9:50 pm

    Looks very red-faced to me. Gin powered?

  4. Graeme No.3 permalink
    May 7, 2016 12:33 am

    They could have saved time by releasing the decision as well. Let me see,

    A great opportunity to advance renewable energy capacity is available.
    Unlike other renewable sources tidal energy is silent and predictable.
    Safe for birds. Recreational opportunities. Tourism will benefit host towns.
    The UK will be on track to lead the World in decarbonising its economy.
    The UK will develop expertise that may lead to export opportunities.
    Several sites already identified as promising.
    The Committee recommends taking action a.s.a.p.

    (No mention of costs or price of resulting electricity of course).

  5. Joe Public permalink
    May 7, 2016 7:18 am

    From the proposed developer’s puff piece:

    “The world’s first, man-made, energy-generating lagoon, with a 320MW installed capacity and 14 hours of reliable generation every day”

    And failing to mention it’s 4x a day with zilch generation.

    • May 7, 2016 7:32 am

      The boss of the company was on BBC radio 4 recently, saying that as the tides move around the UK, ones further North will take over when Swansea is “waiting”. The fawning BBC presenter failed to notice that after billions spent on a piddling amount of electricity, further billions will be required to fill in the gaps.

  6. ralfellis permalink
    May 7, 2016 10:21 am

    The first thing they need to explain, is how they will overcome the power outages that occur four times a day, as the tides change.

    In my view, the only real alternative is a gas fired plant alongside the barrage. But that rather negates the whole point of the barrage power station, as you could just run the gas plant. And it doubles the price of the infrastructure and electricity. I suppose an alternative is you could connect the barrage to a nearby pumped storage system. But that would halve the power output of the barage (half the energy has to be stored, to cover the tidal outages). In addition, pumped storage tends to be expensive to build, which would again treble or quadruple the cost of the project.

    And then they need to explain what they will do during neap tides. These low-amplitude tides will reduce power output by half, for about eight days each month. So what will they do to back up the neap tide periods??

    Tidal power is not the panacaea that people think it is.


    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      May 7, 2016 6:01 pm

      It’s not just power outages – it is a very uneven rate of producing power even when it is generating. The head varies roughly sinusoidally, and so will the power output while it’s operating. You can get a better idea by looking at the power curves for La Rance in this presentation:

      • ralfellis permalink
        May 7, 2016 6:59 pm

        Interesting document.

        It looks like they do a lot of pumping too (using grid electricity) to try and overcome the other problem of hydro plants – the timing of power generation. Generation is governed by the Moon, not human activity, and so the generation peak is often out of synch with the needs of the grid.

        So I see that if generation would normally be too early, say at 04:00, they use grid power to continue filling the pond until closer to 06:00, and then start generating to match the morning rush hour. Good idea, but it does mean that the barrage is often consuming a lot of grid electricity.

        It would be easier to match this barrage with a pumped storage system, which would mean that generation could be averaged between the two systems more easily. But this would make the system supremely expensive to construct.


      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        May 7, 2016 8:03 pm


        Pumping makes most sense when close to high/ow tide, so the moon has done most of the heavy lift – you have to look at energy cost of pumping against energy value returned. Of course, if you are being guaranteed £168/MWh for your output, so long as input costs less than that divided by round trip efficiency, it will always make sense to pump provided the wall is high enough. I find it interesting that studies on the Severn Barrage from the late 1970s suggested that only ebb flow generation would be economic. See my comment and the linked study here:

      • ralfellis permalink
        May 8, 2016 7:17 am

        Indeed, but the electrical cost is not constant. What they are doing is using cheap overnight electricity to pump up the lagoon to a higher level, and then release it during the higher cost rush-hour.

        So this site is becoming half tidal barage, and half pumped storage system. This is a good idea, economically, but it means that a smaller proportion of net tidal power is being generated.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        May 8, 2016 1:10 pm

        Cheap overnight electricity is used in the pumped storage at Dinorwig – however, with a tidal system pumping time is dictated by the tide times, which change by about 50 minutes a day as the moon orbits. That may mean pumping happens during peak rush hour (or the tidal system is paid not to do so) so long as it makes financial sense against the guaranteed price for output.

      • ralfellis permalink
        May 8, 2016 3:40 pm

        Yes, I know that. But they can extend the lunar filling time, by using cheap off-peak electricity. Check out the charts in that document you linked. So the system becomes half tidal, and half pumped storage. Which is all very well, but it reduces the total amount of electricity produced by the system, because they are so concerned about synching with peak demand.

        If the tidal system was linked with a dedicated pumped storage system, they would not have to do that, and would produce more power overall. But it would cost a heck of a lot more to build the system.


  7. Patsy Lacey permalink
    May 7, 2016 10:45 am

    Is there any way – eg by petition – to stop this appointment? P Lacey

  8. Derek Buxton permalink
    May 7, 2016 10:51 am

    Ah I see, another rigged “independent” revue, our government are nothing if not predictable. Down with all the troughers sooner rather than later.

  9. It doesn't add up... permalink
    May 7, 2016 8:52 pm

    I don’t see how seconding a load of civil servants to the review will make them independent: their future careers will depend on coming up with the “right” answer, and they are already deeply steeped in DECC greenthink.

    • ralfellis permalink
      May 8, 2016 7:19 am

      >>already deeply steeped in DECC greenthink.

      As redily apparent by the CC part of their scronym. Who had the bright idea of linking Climate Change to energy? Of all the political manipulation, this was probably one of the most cynical.


  10. Tim Hammond permalink
    May 8, 2016 11:30 am

    Seriously? two years as a minister is a “wealth” of experience? And running a pavilion in Kazakhstan?

    He worked as an account manager at a PR firm before politics.

    He is a politician, not an expert. Nothing necessarily wrong with being a politician, but there is with then claiming he has expertise in something else entirely.

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