Climate change, and its damaging effects are universally accepted, and the drive to decarbonise global society before we do irreversible harm is more crucial than ever. But we have a major problem, which stretches across the UK.

Supply of green energy just cannot keep pace with demand, and our current and projected renewables strategy; dependent on intermittent and weather-dependent systems (particularly offshore wind), will not deliver the baseline electricity we urgently need. Baseline, put simply, is the minimum amount of electricity required for society to function normally at the time it is needed.

When the weather conditions are unsuitable, wind and solar will not work. Currently, to plug the baseline gap we fall back on fossil fuels or expensive imports. The fact is, we cannot go on like this.

The good news is Wales holds the answer and one which, approached with a ‘Wales First’ mentality, could lead to myriad benefits across the country: Tidal range energy.

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It’s no secret, Wales is one of the most resource rich countries in the United Kingdom. Yet, over the past centuries, it has seen its wealth of raw materials, manufacturing output and industrial expertise removed to benefit other parts of Britain with little, or no return. We must end this extractive cycle now, so the nation can realise its full economic potential.

For me, this all starts with Wales becoming self-sufficient in clean, 100% green energy, generated through tidal range systems. It’s something I call Wales Electric Water. Correctly implemented, this currently under explored renewable will not only deliver this primary objective, but have a positive, transformational effect on Wales’ socio-economic fabric.

Wales is no stranger to tidal range energy generation, but as we’ve seen from past projects, many schemes have been perceived at government level as over-priced, poor value or inherently flawed in execution.

However, the tides are starting to turn and Wales stands to significantly benefit from this form of renewable energy, which possesses the ability to deliver perpetual Baseline, becomes more advanced, scalable and cost-effective. Further, we can now build a multi lagoon system, operational 24/7, 365 days a year, something never achieved before.

The National Wales: Stuart Murphy is the founder and inventor of TPGen24Stuart Murphy is the founder and inventor of TPGen24

This not only means continuous energy, but energy which can be controlled, guaranteeing greater efficiency from a reliable source. Output can be reduced for a fixed period (e.g., during times of lower demand), and water/energy can be stored in the system to be released on demand, particularly around peak daily usage at 18:00 (in mid-winter, slightly later in the summer months), ensuring delivery of electricity when needed most. It’s a powerful proposition.

Frustratingly, progress remains tentative. The Welsh Government's Tidal Lagoon Initiative; in which my own project, TPGen24, is participating, is definitely a step in the right direction. But we need to go further if we really want to realise the opportunities for Wales. It’s no secret the country is surrounded by some of the largest tidal ranges in the world, and it’s in harnessing the power of this naturally occurring phenomena that I see future prosperity.

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My system is just one of a growing number of tidal range technologies which are helping to position Wales at the forefront of a renewable revolution, to become the leading experts and foremost global provider of this type of renewable technology. It’s Wales Electric Water, developed by Wales, for Wales and beyond.

There are also myriad business cases to be made beyond the number of Welsh homes, commercial units and electric vehicles which could be powered solely by tidal range. At one end of the spectrum are the initial investment injections which the construction of such critical infrastructure could bring. At the other end is supporting Wales’ growing hydrogen capture sector, another industry which could promote economic revival and establish the country as the epicentre of clean fuel and energy.

Going even further, this could find a new manufacturing niche of hydrogen transport and machinery, which Wales could pioneer, delivering further regeneration and growth. That’s only scratching the surface.

At the outset of 2022, momentum is picking up in Wales, as an appreciation and understanding of tidal ranges’ powerful proposition proliferates. However, there remains much work to be done.

Working closely with the Tidal Range Alliance, academia, business and the construction industry we’re starting to make greater waves around the huge opportunities tidal range offers Wales. Positive conversations at the back end of last year with Senedd Members from all parties also indicated an enthusiasm and desire to move forward and give such technologies and systems serious consideration.

Tidal range energy, packaged as Wales Electric Water, can be something that Wales owns, and exports to its advantage; potentially as a community invested business entity. We can no longer afford another extractive industry where this country does all the hard work, only to see the spoils benefit someone else.

So, as a new year begins, let’s join together to make Wales the cleanest, greenest and most energy self-sufficient nation in the world. It’s a goal within reach if we strategically harness the potential of tidal range, with Wales Electric Water.

Stuart Murphy is the founder of renewables project TPGen24

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