High tides and flooding are both causing massive problems across the UK at the moment, with low-lying and coastal regions being battered by unusually-bad weather. But what if all that water could be harnessed for good? A plan to create a giant tidal lagoon energy plant in Swansea Bay aims to do just that.
Plans submitted for the £850 million lagoon would see a six-mile long U-shaped seawall stretch from Swansea University's Fabian Way campus to Swansea docks. The lagoon could hold four square miles of water, holding water at both low and high tides and channelling it through a turbine to generate electricity. It could be operational for as long as 120 years, and would power 120,000 homes, being the first stage in a larger goal to supply 10 per cent of the UK's domestic electricity using similar systems by 2023.
Beyond the energy production, such a system could protect against flooding in the Somerset Levels area too. The government would be able to request the electricity supplier holds water in the lagoon until dangerous water levels in the surrounding area drain. The site would also serve one final function, providing triathlon and watersports facilities.
Creating 1,850 construction jobs, 60-long term operational jobs and potentially a further 90 linked to the visitor centre (pictured at the top of the page), if the submission is a success the renewable energy lagoon could be up and running by 2018. [BBC, Juice Architects]