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Government reveals Severn tidal power schemes being considered

The Government yesterday published a list of 10 proposed projects that it is considering in its investigation into tidal power in the Severn Estuary.

Under the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform's (BERR) ongoing feasibility study, managed by consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff, the 10 proposals will be examined and whittled down to a shortlist to be published later this year.

"Harnessing the power of the Severn Estuary could be an engineering
project of breathtaking scale and we will look at the full range of
technologies and locations," said Business secretary John Hutton, revealing the potential schemes at a meeting of stakeholders in Cardiff yesterday.

"Such a project could play an important role in our ambition to
dramatically increase the amount of energy from renewable sources.
The tidal range on the Severn is the second largest in the world and
has the potential to provide around 5% of the UK's current
electricity demand."

The ten projects being considered for Government backing are:

  • Outer Barrage from Minehead to Aberthaw: this would be the largest barrage and would make maximum use of the Severn Estuary tidal resource

  • Middle Barrage from Brean Down to Lavernock Point: most
    well-studied option, known as the Cardiff-Weston barrage

  • Middle Barrage from Hinkley to Lavernock Point: as option 2 but
    lands at Hinkley

  • Inner Barrage (Shoots Barrage): also known as English Stones
    scheme and studied in detail by the Sustainable Development
    Commission

  • Beachley Barrage: barrage further upstream, smaller generating
    capacity than Shoots

  • Tidal Fence proposal: a barrier constructed over part of the
    Cardiff to Weston line, with open sections, incorporating tidal
    stream turbines to capture energy from the ebb and flood tides

  • Lagoon enclosure on the Welsh grounds (Fleming lagoon): one of the previously studied Russell lagoons from 1980s

  • Tidal lagoon concept: a proposal for a number of tidal lagoons

  • Tidal reef proposal: a concept that would include floating
    turbines and caissons

  • Severn Lake Scheme: a 1 km wide barrage in the same location as
    the Cardiff-Weston scheme designed to allow the construction of a number of additional features, including a wave farm on the seaward side and four marinas

"The aim of the joint feasibility study is to look at all the potential options for generating renewable and sustainable energy
from the huge tidal range of the Severn estuary," said Welsh Assembly Government Environment, Sustainability and Housing minister Jane Davidson.

"It is important to stress that while there is much talk of a 'barrage' this feasibility study is looking at a range of other options."

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