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Shorrock Still Pushing His Zombie Lagoon

June 25, 2020

By Paul Homewood

 

 

If you thought it was dead and buried, think again!

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A couple of years ago, the Swansea Tidal Lagoon project seemed to deader than a Norwegian Blue, after the government rejected the contract price requested.

Since then, Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP), the company set up to develop the project, has entered a Company Voluntary Agreement to wind up, leaving investors millions out of pocket.

However, Mark Shorrock, who made a fortune in consultancy fees to TLP and only paid £70 for his part of the shares written off, has returned like a bad penny.

According to reports in City A.M., he has called for Boris Johnson to give the go ahead to the renewable energy project, saying that the UK will need to use “every green project we can” if it is to decarbonise its energy system.

Currently, the project is waiting for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to approve a decommissioning plan which would allow work to begin on site.

If the plan is not signed off in the next eight days, the planning consent for the £1.3bn project will be lost.

Not for the first time, we don’t get the whole story from Shorrock. He is actually referring to what is known as the Development Consent Order (DCO), which is due to expire at the end of this month. This DCO was issued in 2015 and lasts for five years. The idea is to provide broad consent, during which time the applicant can get detailed planning permissions agreed. Shorrock wants this DCO to be extended, as if it lapses all of the planning consents already given will also lapse. In short, he would have to start the whole planning procedure from scratch.

What Shorrock forgot to mention to CITY AM, or in his press release, is that the BEIS have already rejected his appeal to extend the DCO. In a letter dated June 9th, Kwasi Kwarteng reminded him that the government had already turned its back on the Lagoon:

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It is absurd anyway to blame the pandemic, as Shorrock has had plenty of time to meet the 5-year deadline. In reality, there are many environmental issues which have not been addressed.

Shorrock’s new strategy, it seems, is to bypass the inconvenient planning barriers, and get Boris to personally authorise the go-ahead. There are already voices within the Tory Party, such as Ian Duncan-Smith, urging this. Shorrock may have lost his investors a fortune, but he has always been good at PR.

So what is Shorrock’s game? Swansea Tidal Lagoon still remains a basket case from an economic point of view, and would be a non-starter without a generous CfD agreement.

Attempts to raise further funds as a “high risk investment”, sources tell me, have fallen flat. Yet Shorrock states that he only needs a government subsidy of £18 million to get Swansea up and running. Clearly this is bunkum . If the project is economically viable, investors would be queuing up.

 

In fact the same obstacles exist as they did two years ago, despite claims by Shorrock that capital costs have been significantly cut since 2018.

Given cost pressures, it is unlikely that any of the leisure facilities, so lovingly advertised in the glossy prospectus, will ever get built. And far being being an impressive visual vista, the lagoon wall will be an ugly 40 foot high wall at low tide, surrounding 11km2 of muddy sludge.

Even Shorrock admitted two years ago that maintenance costs would be £30/MWh. On its own, this makes the project totally unviable. Given known problems, such as silting, the real cost is likely to be higher still.

And then there’s the environmental concerns at both Swansea and Lizard Bay in Cornwall where Shorrock intends to source the rock.

No satisfactory answers have ever been received about these matters.

There seems to be little likelihood that the lagoon will ever get built, so why is Shorrock still trying to buy time?

We already know that Shorrock and his companies have trousered millions in fees and interest from TLP. One of these, Tidal Lagoon (Swansea Bay) plc have now taken over the planning process.

No doubt Shorrock is hoping to pocket a few more millions, generously provided by taxpayers, before the project finally hits the buffers.

 

 

 

Refs

 

1) Press Release:

Press Release 22nd June 2020 – Tidal Lagoon[1244]

 

2) Letter to BEIS

3.-Tidal-planning-extension-request-letter-to-BEIS-SoS-on-back-of-COVID-extension-in-Scotland[1245]

28 Comments
  1. Patsy Lacey permalink
    June 25, 2020 2:01 pm

    All the tidal plants submitted to the UN for approval under the clean development mechanism (Kyoto Protocol) were refused accreditation for not being sustainable. The UN approved 6,400 projects in total (wind, solar, biomass etc) but not tidal. Hope Kwasi, Boris (and Carrie) know this

  2. Harry Davidson permalink
    June 25, 2020 2:36 pm

    On the other hand, building the Severn Barrage, Weston Super Mare to Lavernock, with a 4 lane road on top, would be a great idea. Expensive? Yes, but well worth it.

  3. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 25, 2020 3:06 pm

    He’s trying to leverage the moment, like any self-serving opportunist. Boris is politically weak after his disastrous handling of the virus, AND, under great pressure to implement a ‘green recovery’. It’s a last gasp effort to force it irrevocably through. Boris has a history of serving his own political career interests above all else.

    • cajwbroomhill permalink
      June 25, 2020 3:57 pm

      Hopefully, disaster awaits the political fools now supporting Greenery, analogous to appeasemnt in the 1930s, but morally much worse.

  4. Curious George permalink
    June 25, 2020 4:08 pm

    The UK will need to use “every green project we can”. A green project to support a previous green project. Also known as a chain reaction.

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 25, 2020 4:25 pm

    So how many people does ‘pollution’ save from skin cancer each year then?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-53178988

    And recognition of natural factors causing ozone depletion.

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

    • I don't believe it.e it! permalink
      June 26, 2020 12:04 am

      Similar poor story in the Telegraph today from Emma Gattan however she manages to quote Grantham’s little idiot who claims that high uv levels are putting people at greater risk of catching the virus.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        June 26, 2020 3:44 pm

        Interesting, given UV is a proven virus killer, quietly sterilizing all the surfaces in out towns and cities etc.!

  6. Phillip Bratby permalink
    June 25, 2020 4:52 pm

    The Swansea Bay tidal lagoon was always going to be an environmental disaster (on many fronts), a financial disaster (without a huge consumer subsidy) and a disaster for the national grid. Hence you can never rule out politicians giving it the go ahead.

  7. Dan permalink
    June 25, 2020 5:06 pm

    A total scam.

    There was a presentation about 3-4 years ago in Swansea and shorrock claimed that the group of lagoons would provide baseload. I pointed out that different sizes of lagoons would provide “baseload” to the smallest sized lagoon and the tides around the UK were not divergent enough to even do this.

    He tried to claim “engineering” to which I replied you are speaking to one.

    • Dan permalink
      June 25, 2020 5:10 pm

      I also should mention that the South Wales grid is at capacity and is struggling to accept any more, due to wind expansion. Port Talbot steelworks is building a new turbine with the view of mainly replacing old kit but also to reduce flaring and export some surplus to the grid. The national grid is playing hardball despite the obvious pollution reduction.

  8. June 25, 2020 6:49 pm

    There is a lot of energy in tides.

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/08/05/tidalcyclesbiblio/

  9. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 25, 2020 8:43 pm

    “The mercury rose to a scorching 33.3C (91.94F) at Heathrow Airport in west London on Thursday, beating Wednesday’s high of 32.6C (90.68F) at the same location.”

    Surprise surprise, when are they going to start disqualify/ignoring such blatantly compromised sites?

    At least the June record will stay for at least another year now.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      June 26, 2020 9:51 am

      Don’t be too quick on that – they probably have somebody trawling round anyone with a thermometer that read higher a la Cambridge last July. I could offer mine but it peaked at 89F yesterday even though it is on a brick wall in a corner above a block patio.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        June 26, 2020 3:42 pm

        I doubt it this time, it was too far off the record for any pretender to be credible.

  10. Gerry, England permalink
    June 26, 2020 9:52 am

    Catching up on newspapers last night I found this was in the Mail on Sunday with a whole page of errant nonsense supporting it.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      June 26, 2020 3:40 pm

      Yep, I posted the on-line link here at the time.

  11. Devoncamel permalink
    June 26, 2020 11:23 am

    A quick sum reveals we would need 666 TLPs to achieve our annual generated figure. Shorrock is an opportunist who has jumped on the green blob bandwagon. He will incur none of the costs and all the benefits (through his consultancy fees). The UK meanwhile is so transfixed by the green mania it is sleepwalking into bearing all the costs with none of the benefits. A few will get rich at the expense of the rest of us.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      June 27, 2020 2:23 pm

      Shorrock’s plan was probably to make his fortune from quarrying the Lizard (a quarry site he already owns) to provide the stone for the barrage. After that, he wouldn’t care if the lagoon company went bankrupt.

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