The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

UK Drops Massive Severn Tidal Scheme

A study found "no strategic case" for the Severn barrage project, said energy secretary Chris Huhne, who gave the green light for building eight nuclear plants in the same announcement.

“The study clearly shows that there is no strategic case at this time for public funding of a scheme to generate energy in the Severn estuary," said Huhne.

"Other low carbon options represent a better deal for taxpayers and consumers."

Although the feasibility report described the project as “high risk” and unlikely to attract private investment, energy trade association RenewableUK said the decision to ditch the tidal scheme was “disappointing”.

"It would be a disappointing decision to abandon the Severn Barrage project,” said Charles Anglin, spokesperson for RenewableUK.

“The barrage project is not just a single building across the Severn. It involves reefs, lagoons and smaller barrages. This project alone could supply almost 5% of the UK's electricity consumption. It is important that we get the associated costs in perspective. The £15 billion [the feasibility study put the figure at up to £34 billion] of the barrage is equivalent to building three new nuclear power stations but instead of lasting 40 years it would last 120 years."

The Severn barrage was intended to harness energy from the Severn Estuary, on the west coast of the British mainland, which has the world’s second-highest tidal range of 12.8 metres.

Peter Hain, the opposition’s spokesman for Wales, said dropping the barrage spelled “a terrible day for Wales”.

“This is a decision that is equally disastrous for the Welsh economy and our environment,” he said.

CBI, an organisation representing British business, described the decision as "understandable" in light of the poor state of public finances. But, while welcoming investment in nuclear, CBI director of business environment Dr Neil Bentley called for development of tidal resources.

"The Government should continue to encourage innovation in tidal power to reduce the cost of this technology,” he said.

The barrage's hydro-electric dam would have generated electricity from water filled by the tide rather than a flowing river. But the scheme, among five hydropower projects shortlisted for the Severn estuary, was opposed for its impact on wildlife by Friends of the Earth (FOE) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The feasibility study found that the barrage would destroy rare habitats and threaten some fish and bird species while also raising the risk of floods. 

FOE Cymru welcomed Huhne’s decision while offering support for alternative approaches to reaping the Severn’s tidal power.

"The Severn estuary is an extremely important source of renewable energy that ought to be harnessed as soon as possible," said FOE Cymru director Gordon James.

"We believe this could be done by other less damaging technologies, such as tidal lagoons, tidal reefs and a shoots barrage, and we hope the government will pursue these better options urgently."

Huhne's announcement also left open the possibility of funding for alternative tidal schemes in the Severn.

“With a rich natural marine energy resource, world leading tidal energy companies and universities, and the creation of the innovative Wave Hub facility, the area can play a key role in supporting the UK’s renewable energy future,” he said.

By revealing eight potential sites for nuclear plants by 2025 in the same announcement Huhne further dismayed some elements of the UK’s green lobby.

Before taking office the minister was widely seen as hostile to nuclear power and several members of the Liberal Democrat Party, a minority partner in the UK’s coalition government, are likely to abstain from votes on new nuclear plants.

Untitled Document


Renewable Energy Gains Greater Opportunity in US Clean Power Plan

Elisa Wood After a year of being pummeled by opponents, Obama’s final carbon reduction plan emerged this week with an even stron...

Listen Up: Vampires Sucking Power from your House

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World Here’s a nightmare for you: at night, when you’re asleep and you think things are quiet, there are vampires sucking p...

Some Hope for US Renewable Energy Tax Credits As Extension Bill Passes Committee

Vince Font In a lopsided 23-3 vote, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee voted yesterday to extend a number of renewable energy pro...
Renewable energy globe lightbulb

Global Renewable Energy Is Status Positive

David Appleyard, Contributing Editor The headline figure from the authoritative REN21 Renewables Global Status Report 2015 (GSR) states renewables account...


Free ImagineSolar Online Course Demonstration

ImagineSolar will be holding another live demonstration of PV250e: Solar PV Economics a...

Canadian Solar Announces Partnership in 200 MW Tranquility Solar Power Project

Recurrent Energy signed an agreement with Southern Power to partner on the Tranquility ...

AWS Truepower Announces Major Expansion of its Due Diligence Team in Response to Growing Market Demand

AWS Truepower, an international leader in wind and solar energy consulting and engineer...


NATiVE Recognized for Excellence at 2015 Greater Austin Business Awards

NATiVE Recognized for Excellence at 2015 Greater Austin Business Awards NEWS RELEASE AUSTIN, Texas – Aug. 27...

Solar Energy Means Jobs, Savings, and a Low-Cost Future [infographic]

There are a lot of utility-sponsored legislative and regulatory attacks on solar energy lately, and we put together t...

How To Get People To Do Stuff

It’s no secret that psychology and sales go hand in hand. If you understand the principles of human psychology ...



Volume 18, Issue 4


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



Microhydro System Design and Installation Workshop

Participants will learn about: site assessment techniques including the ...

5th Annual Hydro Plant Maintenance

Join maintenance professionals to discuss the challenges in maintenance ...

2015 AREDAY Summit

The 12th Annual AREDAY Summit, August 8-13th in Snowmass Colorado. Engag...


New coating extends cylinder life 8 times longer than traditional c...

Hydroelectric turbine systems operate in extremely harsh conditions. The...

Clean Energy Patents Maintain High Levels in First Quarter, Solar L...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies from the first quarter of 201...

SAP for Utilities Blog

The Eventful Group produces the annual SAP for Utilites Conference ...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now