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Response To Mark Shorrock’s Letter

December 19, 2016

By Paul Homewood


Last week, the Sunday Telegraph printed this letter from Mark Shorrock, Chief Exec of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, in reponse to Booker’s piece the week before:


SIR – We can at least agree with Christopher Booker on one point: the non-negotiable need to act on climate change has led to the possibility of tidal lagoon power stations in Britain.

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is a vision of how to replace part of our ageing power station fleet with low-cost, reliable power that revitalises industrial heartlands and coastal areas.

We talk about a Britain that works for everybody. But the electricity we use creates too much work for others and not enough for Britain. We generate electricity from coal (mostly imported), natural gas (of which more than half is imported) and biomass (at scale, all imported). Our new nuclear technology is imported, our wind turbines are mostly imported, as are our solar panels. When we pay our electricity bills, we are nominally paying a domestic retailer (60 per cent foreign-owned) but supporting other countries’ energy industries.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We have more tidal resources than any other country. And we now have a means of meeting up to 12 per cent of Britain’s electricity needs using the rise and fall of the tides. The turbines, generators and turbine housings for these projects will be made in Britain, capturing 84p in every £1 spent for a new, home-grown industry.

Starting at Swansea Bay, tidal lagoons will generate electrons that work for Britain and bring down bills.

Mark Shorrock
Chief Executive, Tidal Lagoon


Fortunately, the Telegraph allowed me to correct certain misleading statements of his, publishing my letter yesterday:


SIR – Mark Shorrock (Letters, December 11) says the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will provide low-cost power.

Yet by his company’s own admission, the electricity it produces will cost as much as Hinkley Point. And for what? Intermittent power that will meet a pitiful percentage of Britain’s needs.

Mr Shorrock says the project will create jobs – but the best way to do this is to provide cheap, reliable energy.

Paul Homewood


It’s not often that the Telegraph print corrections to statements made by the great and the good, so all credit to them on this occasion.

  1. The Old Bloke permalink
    December 19, 2016 6:48 pm

    “….bring down bills” What a load of crap.

  2. AlecM permalink
    December 19, 2016 6:57 pm

    Congratulations Paul: you’ve saved the Welsh eels!

  3. Tim Hammond permalink
    December 19, 2016 7:07 pm

    It’s pretty sad that the CEO of something like this is totally and utterly economically illiterate. Of course we should import things that are better and/or cheaper than what we can produce ourselves – that makes us richer.

    And creating jobs by making processes less efficient and more costly can only REDUCE jobs from a net perspective.

    Sad, and a bit pathetic.

    • December 19, 2016 7:12 pm

      Lies, damned lies, statistics, and renewable energy soundbites.

      • Kernow Maid permalink
        December 19, 2016 11:09 pm

        Clapping loudly.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      December 19, 2016 8:55 pm

      I think he understands the economics of green subsidies exceptionally well, and has worked out how to ensure he gets his millions before his project goes bust (by making it on construction).

  4. Joe Public permalink
    December 19, 2016 7:30 pm

    “Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is a vision of how to replace part of our ageing power station fleet with low-cost, reliable power ….”

    From their own website:

    ” ….we hold the tides for 2.5 hours four times a day, we can generate power for up to 14 in every 24 hours.” [My bold]

    ‘Predictably intermittent’ rather than ‘reliable’ is a more accurate description.

    • Hivemind permalink
      December 20, 2016 6:12 am

      Certainly not what we call dispatchable. I order the tide to go out so I can generate enough power to cook dinner. A King Canute kind of thing.

  5. A C Osborn permalink
    December 19, 2016 7:47 pm

    Well done Paul, perhaps Chris put in a good word for you.

  6. December 19, 2016 9:53 pm

    Mark Shorrock and Juliet Davenport. A right pair of troughers.

    • Joe Public permalink
      December 19, 2016 11:51 pm

      Well remembered.

      • Kernow Maid permalink
        December 20, 2016 8:46 am

        Remembered! That press clipping hangs in most downstairs toilets on The Lizard Peninsula.

  7. Kernow Maid permalink
    December 19, 2016 11:06 pm

    Well done Paul. Mark Shorrock seems good at spending other people’s money and producing glossy visuals. He is set to make tens of millions of pounds from his Cornish Quarry plans to build his Tidal Lagoons. He claims to be green but nobody in their right mind would make a UK test case for Marine Conservation Zones by industrialising Dean Quarry. He has sold a dream to so many people,taken their money. Let’s hope He huffs off to India to build one there.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      December 20, 2016 11:53 am

      I think that Modi has more sense than that, he is playing the Greenies brilliantly while advancing Indian business. Our lot do not have much technical sense: very good at Latin and Greek and troughing though!

  8. Max Sawyer permalink
    December 20, 2016 1:48 pm

    No mention of the unfortunate tendency of lagoons to silt up unless they are subject to constant costly dredging. But, hey, it’s green, so that doesn’t matter – the consumer will pay.

  9. Bradley Stoker permalink
    December 23, 2016 11:18 am

    Whilst I applaud any renewable energy initiative I have many concerns regarding this scheme.

    The lagoon in Swansea Bay would be a very expensive experiment, and the suggestion that it will provide baseload power is misleading,

    I would also question the potential for the engineering bonanza that Mr Shorrock suggests, the work is very specialised and Andritz Hydro will have an established supply chain that UK manufacturers are unlikely to break in to.

    The talk of setting up a Welsh manufacturing base to manufacture the follow on Tidal Lagoon equipment does not make sense, as there could be many years between the schemes, don’t forget TLSB is a “test bed” that will have to be commissioned with an operating history before further investment decisions can be made.

    Mr Shorrock is doing a very good selling job, I just hope that the scheme is receiving the technical appraisal it deserves and Hendry is not swept along by the puff and spin that TLSB has already proven the ability to generate.

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