Wales business leaders back £1.7bn Blue Eden project
Business leaders in Wales are giving their backing to the £1.7bn Blue Eden project that's been announced for Swansea.
Katherine Bennett, Western Gateway Chair, and Ian Price, CBI Wales Director, say the project will create opportunities for sustainable growth, while helping accelerate a green recovery from the Covid pandemic in Wales.
The Blue Eden project, which includes a tidal lagoon, is being led by Bridgend-based DST Innovations and their business partners, with support from Swansea Council and Associated British Ports.
Made possible by funding from the private sector, Blue Eden will be delivered in three phases over 12 years.
The project also includes a manufacturing plant to make high-tech batteries for renewable energy storage, along with a battery storage facility to store renewable energy produced at Blue Eden and power the site.
A floating solar array will also feature, along with a data centre, an ocean and climate change research centre, residential waterfront homes and about 150 floating, highly energy-efficient eco-homes anchored in the water.
Blue Eden will create over 2,500 permanent jobs and support a further 16,000 jobs across Wales and the UK, while creating additional jobs during its construction.
The lagoon element of the project will include state-of-the-art underwater turbines generating 320 megawatts of renewable energy from the 9.5km structure.
Katherine Bennett CBE, Western Gateway Chair, said: "I am delighted to support the Blue Eden project in Swansea. It is an ambitious and innovative project that will benefit the Western Gateway area and create opportunities for sustainable growth.
"Our partnership is committed to using our combined strengths and skills on both sides of the Severn to unlock new job opportunities for local people whilst also finding solutions to decarbonise our economy. Already home to a developing hydrogen ecosystem that stretches from Swansea to Swindon, we are leading the bid to bring the UK's first prototype fusion plant to the Severn Edge site.
"I look forward to working with Swansea Council and the Blue Eden team to see how our powerhouse partnership can further support this project."
Ian Price, CBI Wales Director, said: "The Blue Eden project is hugely welcome and will deliver a massive economic boost to Swansea and the wider Welsh economy.
"The CBI has long called for a green recovery from the pandemic and the steps being taken here, to bolster the renewables sector and deliver thousands of high-quality jobs, represent an excellent example of how to turn that vision into reality."
Blue Eden will be sited along an extensive area of land and water, to the south of the Prince of Wales Dock in the SA1 area of Swansea.
All the project's buildings and facilities, including the eco-homes, will be situated alongside the lagoon and will utilise and enhance the existing land in the area.
The energy generated by the lagoon and solar farm will be used on site, but there is also scope for 32% of it to be exported onto the grid for the benefit of local residents and businesses. The amount of green energy consumed by the Blue Eden development will also save a significant amount of energy being taken from the grid in future.
Subject to planning consent, Blue Eden work on site could start by early 2023.