An application for a 320 MW tidal energy project in Swansea Bay, South Wales, have been accepted for consideration by the United Kingdom's Planning Inspectorate, developer Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay plc (TLSB) has announced.
The group submitted an application in February for what could become the largest tidal power plant in the world.
Acceptance by the Planning Inspectorate means the application meets the required standards to proceed to public examination before being considered by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
"This is a hugely important step in the process that will, hopefully, see us on site in Swansea Bay in Spring 2015 with the first power being generated in 2018," Tidal Lagoon Power CEO Mark Shorrock said.
A separate marine license application is also being reviewed by Natural Resources Wales given the project's location in Welsh waters. That application was also filed in February.
The Swansea Bay project would qualify as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) under the UK's Planning Act of 2008, given it has a capacity in excess of 100 MW.
"Consulting on a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, and subsequently compiling the application documents, is an enormous task that has kept the team busy for nearly three years," TLSP Head of Planning Alex Herbert said. "We are delighted that our application met the required standards and look forward to taking it forward to examination and a decision."
The project would include a 9.5-kilometer-long sea wall that would be dotted with hydro turbines along its length. Rising and falling tides would provide the kinetic motion needed for energy production.
The initial tidal lagoon would be located in Swansea Bay, South Wales, though TLP said it ultimately envisions a number of such projects around the UK.
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