TLSB selects Chinese company for Wales' Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon

Energy developer Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay PLC has named China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. as the preferred bidder for the 320-MW Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project in Wales.

The US$458 million contract would see the Chinese marine engineering contractor perform works including the construction of the Swansea Bay project's 6-mile-long sea wall, which would generate hydroelectric power using turbines dotting the length of the wall.

The deal would make China Harbour Engineering Co. (CHEC) responsible for the construction of the project's bund wall and coffer dam, sourcing and transporting rock, and managing all landslide and marine crews. CHEC would manage 500 workers during the peak of Swansea Bay's construction, the company said.

Terms of the deal specify CHEC would be "committing to approximately 50% United Kingdom content for the delivery of the package". The company said it would establish a U.K.-based subsidiary with the goal of pursuing a European infrastructure investment program in through the next decade.

"CHEC has taken the strategic decision to enter the U.K. infrastructure investment and construction market, and we see the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, a pioneering scheme that could bring the world a new energy option, as the cornerstone project in our business development strategy in the U.K. and wider Europe, CHEC president and CEO Lin Yi Chong said. "We have not invested directly into the Swansea Bay project, but we made a proposal to do so and will seek opportunities to invest in similar projects."

Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay (TLSB) said that a fixed-price contract with a risk and value engineering scheme for the project's main marine work will be signed later this year.

About half the contract value will be spent "on a British workforce, local partners and a local supply chain," TLSB said in a statement.

TLSB's parent company, Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd., and CHEC will also sign a memorandum of understanding for the development of similar tidal lagoon projects in Asia.

"Beginning in Swansea Bay, we aim to foster a new economic opportunity for collaboration in civil engineering between our two companies and nations," Tidal Lagoon Power chief executive Mark Shorrock said. "Given the lead by our respective governments, we are aiming to take on the greening of our energy economy in European and Asian locations that have eight or more meters of tidal range and are interested in loc-impact, secure and local sources of energy."

HydroWorld.com reported in February that TLSB had selected a consortium including General Electric and Andritz Hydro as preferred bidder to supply electromechanical equipment for the project. TLSB also selected Atkins Global as client's engineer for the project in August. The developer announced financial services firm Prudential had agreed to become a "cornerstone investor" in the project in October.

The project was accepted for consideration by the United Kingdom's Planning inspectorate last March, qualifying it as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) under the UK's Planning Act of 2008.

TLSB said it will run additional tenders through the summer for the construction of a turbine assembly plant in Wales, and the lagoon's public realm and buildings work.

The project is one specifically recognized in a recent report published by Marine Energy Pembrokeshire as having a strong impact on the Welsh economy.

Commercial operation is scheduled for 2019.

For more marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) news, visit here.

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