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Tidal lagoons
11 March 2010

Swansea Bay in Wales could house the world's first tidal lagoon.

Using the predictable movement of the tide, the lagoon would produce clean and effortless energy.

Peter Ullman, chairman of Tidal Electric, dropped by to tell us how energy circles in the sea could supply nearly a tenth of the UK's power needs.

People in the area around the tidal lagoon will benefit in a number of ways.

Peter Ullman

How do tidal lagoons work?

The lagoon is an area of water cut off from the rest of the sea.

cutaway of a tidal lagoon
A section of the lagoon
wall showing the movement
of water through a turbine.


When the tide drops you get a difference in water level inside and outside of the lagoon.

The water is then released. It passes through turbines creating power.

After the tide rises it generates more power during filling. So it works in both directions.

Sounds like science-fiction

It's here now. This technology doesn't have a huge learning curve to climb. The turbines have been in use for over 130 years - there's about half a million of them in the world today.

The tides have been used for thousands of years to create power.

Peter Ullman

How clean are they?

There's no fuel of any sort involved.

There are no temperature changes in the water and there's nothing emitted.

What's in it for local people?


Peter Ullman supports
the Big Ask campaign


It's likely to attract tourists - a major source of income. It could also protect coastlines from erosion.

Tidal lagoons don't need cash from the Government - we're not asking the taxpayer for money.

Tidal lagoons could contribute significantly to the UK power mix and create a number of jobs.

Peter Ullman on the benefits of tidal lagoons

Will marine life suffer?

No. The lagoon doesn't block fish. It would create a habitat for fish and other marine life.

Did you know?

The UK has the second highest tidal range in the world.

Tidal Electric

When will Swansea Bay be ready?

A realistic guess would be 3 years.

The only thing holding it back is getting permission. Local citizens, businesses and local politicians have all been very supportive.

Have a listen to the full interview (MP3). 

2 woman on cliff next to sea in Swansea, Gower Penninsula

© istock

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