London, UK [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] A shortlist of proposed plans to generate electricity from the power of the tides in the Severn estuary has been unveiled by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change.
UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband has also announced £500,000 [US $702,000] of new funding to further develop early-stage 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 tides in the Severn estuary are the second highest in the world. The largest proposal being taken forward has the potential to generate nearly 5% of the UK’s electricity from this domestic, low carbon and sustainable source.
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 is includes:
- 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 gigawatts (GW).
- Shoots Barrage: Further upstream of the Cardiff Weston scheme. Capacity of 1.05 GW, similar to a large fossil fuel plant.
- Beachley Barrage: The smallest barrage on the proposed shortlist, just above the Wye River. It could generate 625 MW.
- Bridgwater Bay Lagoon: Lagoons are radical new proposals which impound a section of the estuary without damming it. This plan 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.
The proposed shortlist will now be subject to a three month public consultation which begins this week.
“Fighting climate change is the biggest long term challenge we face and we must look to use the UK’s own natural resources to generate clean, green electricity. The Severn estuary has massive potential to help achieve our climate change and renewable energy targets. We want to see how that potential compares against the other options for meeting our goals,” said UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband.
Click here to view a map outlining the locations of the five schemes, and visualizations of how they could look.