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Keynes, Always Waiting in the Wings

Thursday, January 12, 2017 2:34
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“Plans for a £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay will be backed in a government-funded review on Thursday.” 

Exclusive to all media, so it must be true.  Tidal lagoons for generating electricity (and, doubtless, trashing the marine environment).   Needless to say the tide-farmers’ ambitions don’t stop at a beggarly £1.3 bn, they have decided £40 bn sounds like a nice round number.  And of course …

One of the key questions will be over the so-called “strike price” – the deal with the UK government to provide a guaranteed price for the energy the lagoons will generate.

Why yes – we didn’t imagine these monsters would be economic, did we?  At the last major outing for this idea they were *floating* (sorry) a strike price of £168 / MWh, which looks kinda awkward alongside Hinkley’s £92.50 (in 2012 coinage and it’s index-linked).  Using the traditional smoke and mirrors, the tidal boys have now turned their demand into £89.90  (why not £89.99, fellahs?  You know that’s how you came up with your number).  With a 90-year government-guaranteed contract (yes, that’s what they want) plus a 120-year payback (sic), it’s not a difficult trick.

The firms hope that as Theresa May’s government has already embraced two mega projects in HS2 and Hinkley Point, it may be enthused by another plan for engineering on a heroic scale.

I’ll bet they do: and in the ‘real world’ (the one where base politics dictates such things) this one may actually run.  It was in the Tory manifesto; and it’s a neat maritime variation on Keynes’ prescription for paying folks to dig holes & then fill them in again.  The tide will leave the hole, & then …   And as the nature conservation lobby swings into action against it all - think of all the work for lawyers!

What’s not to like?  What could possibly go wrong?



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