The proposed 8.6GW barrage from Cardiff to Weston super Mare was the largest of five schemes that today made the shortlist of tidal power projects in the Severn Estuary being considered by Government.
In addition to the £20bn Cardiff-Weston proposal, two smaller barrages also made the shortlist: the Shoots Barrage, a structure further upstream of the Cardiff Weston scheme with a 1.05GW generating capacity; and the Beachley Barrage, situated just above the Wye River with a generating capacity of 625MW.
The shortlist is completed with two tidal lagoon structures: Bridgwater Bay Lagoon, sited on the English shore between east of Hinkley Point and Weston super Mare; and Fleming Lagoon, an impoundment on the Welsh shore of the estuary between Newport and the Severn road crossings.
Both schemes could generate 1.36GW each.
In addition to these five schemes, which will now be put to public consultation, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband also announced £500,000 of new funding to further develop embryonic technologies like tidal reefs and fences.
The progress of these technologies will be considered before decisions are taken whether to go ahead with a Severn tidal power scheme.
“The five schemes shortlisted today are what we believe can be feasible, but this doesn’t mean we have lost sight of others,” said Miliband.
“Half a million pounds of new funding will go some way to developing technologies still in their infancy, like tidal reef and fences. We will consider the progress of this work before any final decisions are taken.
“We have tough choices to make. Failing to act on climate change could see catastrophic effects on the environment and its wildlife, but the estuary itself is a protected environment, home to vulnerable species including birds and fish. We need to think about how to balance the value of this unique natural environment against the long-term threat of global climate change. It is vital we seek public views and collect all information we need to make sure our climate change actions are ambitious yet fair.”
The tides in the Severn estuary are the second highest in the world. The largest proposal being taken forward - the Cardiff Weston barrage - has the potential to generate nearly 5% of the UK’s electricity from a domestic, low carbon and sustainable source.