U.K. Tidal Lagoon Gets Backing of Macquarie as Green Bank Owner

(Bloomberg) -- The new owner of U.K. Green Investment Bank wants to take an equity stake in a 1.3 billion-pound ($1.7 billion) tidal lagoon project, if the government approves the program.

Macquarie Group Ltd. are “strong believers” in the technology that would be used off the coast of Swansea Bay in South Wales, Mark Dooley, capital head of infrastructure, utilities and renewables in Europe, said by phone.

Tidal Lagoon Plc is already being advised by Macquarie, which on Thursday announced a long-awaited deal to buy the Green Investment Bank from the U.K. government for 2.3 billion pounds.

“We’re happy to be advisers, and frankly there’s a queue to be an equity investor, so we’ll see what happens,” said Dooley.

A decision on the lagoon by U.K. government may be delayed by plans announced this week for a general election on June 8, he said. Tidal Lagoon Power is currently in negotiations with the government for subsidies for the project, which would be the first of its kind in the world. The project envisions building a wall to enclose part of Swansea Bay and installing electricity turbines that would be driven by water moving with changing tides.

“Our client has done a phenomenal job of producing a new idea,” said Dooley, adding that eight cities in England and Wales would have an economic benefit from the technology.

Mark Shorrock, head of Gloucester-based Tidal Lagoon, is pitching the project as key to making Brexit a success. He says it will help a region of the U.K. that’s lost industry and suffers high unemployment. More than 51 percent of voters in Swansea, located 187 miles west of London, voted to leave the European Union.

“We’re really hoping that the concept plays strongly to themes that the government has of continued support for renewable power and wanting to see industrial and economic benefits,” said Dooley.

A spokesman for the U.K. Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.