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Severn tidal power projects shortlist

A proposed shortlist of schemes for tidal power in the Severn estuary, UK, including barrages and lagoon schemes, has been unveiled by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband has 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.

Over the past year, the Government-led feasibility study has been investigating a list of ten options, gathering information on the costs, benefits and environmental challenges of using the estuary to generate power.

The proposed shortlist of five projects is as follows:

  • Cardiff Weston Barrage: A barrage crossing the Severn estuary from Brean Down, near Weston super Mare to Lavernock Point, near Cardiff. Its estimated capacity is over 8.6 GW and it could generate nearly 5% of UK electricity;
  • Shoots Barrage: Further upstream of the Cardiff Weston scheme. Capacity of 1.05 GW;
  • Beachley Barrage: The smallest barrage on the proposed shortlist, just above the Wye River. It could generate 625 MW;
  • Bridgwater Bay Lagoon: Lagoons impound a section of the estuary without damming it. This scheme is sited on the English shore between east of Hinkley Point and Weston super Mare. It could generate 1.36 GW;
  • Fleming Lagoon: An impoundment on the Welsh shore of the estuary between Newport and the Severn road crossings. It too could generate 1.36 GW.

All ten projects and the proposed shortlist will now be subject to a three month public consultation.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband says: “The five schemes shortlisted today are what we believe can be feasible, but this doesn’t mean we have lost sight of others. 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.

A map outlining the locations of the five schemes, and visualisations of how they could look, can be viewed on the DECC consultation website.

£500,000 fund to develop tidal energy technologies

The £500,000 fund, which would be match-funded by the private sector, comprises £250,000 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and £125,000 from both the South West RDA and the Welsh Assembly Government.

The new fund has been set up to help progress schemes still at the conceptual design stage, such as tidal reefs and tidal fences, which could be suitable for capturing the energy in the Severn Estuary.

Although not shortlisted by the Government, these schemes are considered to be worth developing as they could have less environmental impact than more traditional types of tidal energy schemes. The progress of these embryonic schemes will be taken into account before decisions are taken in 2010 on whether to go ahead with a Severn tidal power scheme.

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