Finally, the UK government has rejected the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon Project.
This is a tremendous victory for common sense, for the environment, and for the hapless energy users who would have been subsidising this massive white elephant for many decades to come.
Christopher Booker explained precisely why the project was such a bad idea in a series of articles for the Daily Mail.
The first one, in 2015, began:
Just when it seemed that our national energy policy — alongside defence of the realm, an absolute priority, to keep the lights on — couldn’t be managed in a madder or more alarming way, along comes the most bizarre project of all.
This is a £1 billion scheme to build a colossal U-shaped stone breakwater, six miles long, enclosing the whole of Swansea Bay in South Wales, containing 16 giant submerged turbines, whose blades would be seven metres across.
The idea is that these would be driven by the water pouring through them from both directions by the 30ft daily rise and fall of the Bristol Channel’s tides, the second highest in the world.
This mammoth scheme, recently given a glowing plug on the BBC’s Countryfile, is said to have everything going for it.It is backed by an array of financial investors, led by the giant Prudential insurance company. Also behind it are our most influential ‘green’ lobby groups, such as Friends of the Earth, the World Wildlife Fund and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
The ‘tidal lagoon’ project, which would be like nothing else built anywhere before, is favoured by politicians of all parties, led by Lib Dem Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey, who can barely contain his excitement, saying that tidal power offers Britain ‘fantastic economic opportunities’.
The plan was given positive mention in George Osborne’s recent Budget speech, and has now been included in the Conservative manifesto.
On the internet, there is a picture of David Cameron meeting the chief executive of Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP), the company behind the scheme. So, the project certainly has friends in high places.
Note that by the time Booker was out of the traps with the first in-depth article on the subject, the project was already pretty much a done deal.
It had so much high-level support from all quarters – from the green charities to big business to the relevant government department to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the then Prime Minister – that it can surely be counted a near miracle that this outrageous scam at the public’s expense was killed at the last minute.
As Booker made clear all along, the project was hugely expensive, environmentally damaging, and entirely unjustifiable according to any cost-benefit analysis.
Indeed, had the project (and its various offshoots) gone ahead – Paul Homewood has calculated – it would have ended up costing the taxpayer an annual £1.9 billion in subsidies.
So how on earth did it get so far down the line?
Welcome to the world of green lunacy! As you know, the global warming industry is worth upwards of $1.5 trillion annually, which means there are an awful lot of snouts out there competing for a place at the trough. And there are an awful lot of idiots eager to accommodate them, whether for ideological reasons or in order to virtue signal or merely out of sheer stupidity.
It’s entirely typical of the “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” camaraderie prevalent within the Green Blob that as recently as May, the tidal lagoon project was endorsed by an “independent” report by one Charles Hendry, who hailed it as a “significant economy opportunity”.
Well, of course, he would. Hendry is a fully paid-up member of the Green Blob.
A former Energy and Climate Change Minister under David Cameron’s “greenest government ever”, Hendry has benefited handsomely from the revolving door system whereby MPs seem to be able to move effortlessly into private sector industries related to their old ministerial briefs. He is, for example, chairman of a wind energy consortium called Forewind. I don’t think I need spell it out, do I?
Hendry’s “independent” report – as Homewood noted at the time – was bilge.
In a rational world, there’d be lots of wiser heads in government out there ready to spot that it was bilge.
But so prevalent is green propaganda that even the kind of people who aren’t fanatical about global warming nonetheless think that tidal power must be the way forward because, hey, what’s not to like about harnessing the power of the waves?
I’ve encountered this a lot on things like radio phone-ins, even from people who are sceptics and can’t stand wind power and know that solar is a con. Tidal power is for them a kind of Get Out of Jail Free – the concession to renewable energy that enables them to show that they are open-minded on green issues and perfectly happy to pursue any “clean” energy solution that works…
Which is what makes it all the more surprising – and satisfying – that this disastrous project has been cancelled.
Among the people who deserve credit for this are Christopher Booker for doing his homework; and Paul Dacre – the outgoing and (in some quarters) much reviled editor of the Daily Mail. If Dacre hadn’t got a bee in his bonnet about this issue and exposed the project to public scrutiny, it’s entirely possible that it would have gone through on the nod.
As Booker pointed out in the Sunday Telegraph – which also deserves credit for exposing the scam, even as its sister newspaper the Daily Telegraph was busy running puff-piece interviews with the would-be billionaire “entrepreneur” behind the tidal lagoon scheme Mark Shorrock – it was a scheme worthy of Swift’s Academy of Lagado. Billions would have been forked out by the taxpayer for the most expensive subsidised electricity in the world.