North West Wales

Tidal energy project proposed off Bardsey Island

Bardsey Island

A tidal energy project could be developed near Bardsey Island in Gwynedd.

Local community enterprise YnNi Llyn has teamed up with Edinburgh-based Nova Innovation to explore the possibility of deploying a 3MW array of turbines under the water in Bardsey Sound.

Some fishermen told Newyddion 9 it could "devastate" their livelihoods.

But YnNi Llyn said the project would be developed to benefit the local economy.

The plans are at an early stage, but an application has been submitted to The Crown Estate to start the process of assessing the feasibility of the project, as well as the suitability of the site near the island, known as Enlli in Welsh.

Fisherman Sion Williams said: "This development, if it were to be placed in this area, would be devastating to the livelihoods of many fishermen.

"We fish with small boats and we can't move areas. This piece of ground is very important to us."

Other fishermen who spoke to the programme said they were confident the company and volunteers would listen to their concerns.

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Media captionTidal energy project could 'devastate livelihoods' warns fisherman Sion Williams

YnNi Llyn volunteers said it was too early to estimate how many homes would be powered by the project, but it said £5m of local money currently leaves the area in energy bills.

Brian Thomas, on behalf of YnNi Llyn, said: "We are definitely not in the game of undermining, or destroying, or replacing sustainable businesses, quite the opposite.

"Our business is to develop this in a way that is of benefit to the local economy, in terms of individuals and local businesses."

He added that fishermen were "key to any decision" and no action would be taken without them being fully aware of the design and location.

A spokesperson for Nova Innovation said it was aware of the "active fishing community" off Bardsey and had met with the local fishing associations.

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Media captionBrian Thomas from YnNi Llyn said fishermen are "key to any decision" on the project

"The project partners have agreed to work closely with the associations to ensure that the extent of fishing activity in the area is properly understood and this is firmly factored into the design of the potential project," he said.

"If a tidal energy project does go ahead at Enlli, there would be significant potential benefits for the supply chain in north Wales and the local economy."

The Crown Estate said it had accepted the initial application and, following the completion of a three month notice period and consultation, it was now in the final stage of negotiations to enter into an agreement for a lease.

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