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Severn tidal power feasibility study: List of proposals published

Severn tidal power feasibility study: List of proposals published

DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS, ENTERPRISE AND REGULATORY REFORM News Release (2008/153) issued by The Government News Network on 24 July 2008

A list of 10 proposed projects that could provide clean, green energy from the tide in the Severn Estuary is being considered. The list has been published at an event to discuss the progress of the feasibility study in Cardiff attended by organisations such as environmental groups, local businesses and councils.

The feasibility study, commissioned by Secretary of State for Energy John Hutton, will now look in further detail at the 10 schemes.

A short list will be published later this year highlighting which preferred proposals could be taken forward for more extensive research.

John Hutton said:

"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.

"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."

Welsh Assembly Government Environment, Sustainability and Housing Minister, Jane Davidson said:

"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.

"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.

"The potential here is great and the Severn Estuary is a resource that could help us make a significant contribution to the proposed UK renewables target of 15% by 2020."

The list of ten options is as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

6. 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.

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

8. Tidal lagoon concept: a proposal for a number of tidal lagoons

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

10. 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

Notes to editors:

1. Options for the generation of power using the tidal range of the Severn have been identified from three sources:

* Call for Proposals, issued as part of the Call for Evidence on 12 May 2008. The Call for Proposals invited interested parties to submit evidence based proposals for development which will generate electricity from the tidal range of the Severn Estuary.

* The options studied by the Sustainable Development Commission's (SDC) 'Turning the Tide' report, published on 1st October 2007.

* Other strategic options which were not covered by proposals from the two sources above.

2. Three proposals put forward have not been included in the list. One was outside the Severn Estuary so did not fall within the criteria of the feasibility study. The other two were specific construction techniques, however, this information will be considered but not as separate proposals.

3. The proposals gathered will now be assessed and used to develop the draft Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) scoping report. This report will look in to what issues need to be covered to carry out the SEA.

4. The feasibility study will run for two years and will be a two stage process with a decision point at the end of each. The first stage work, likely to run until late 2008, will focus on high level issues and short-listing potential tidal power project options. It will reach a first view on whether there are any fundamental issues that mean the project cannot proceed. At this point there will be a decision to either stop the study, or to continue with evidence gathering and assessments.

5. A map outlining the locations of the various projects can be viewed on the BERR website.

6. A meeting was held in Cardiff yesterday to update stakeholders on the work of the two year long feasibility study, which was launched in January. It was attended by around 80 interested parties including businesses, councils and environmental groups.

7. Following the SDC report last year, http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/pages/tidal.html, the Government is now carrying out a two year study looking at the feasibility of a tidal power scheme in the Severn Estuary. The study will focus on tidal range technologies (including barrages and lagoons) and aims to gather and assess high-level evidence to enable Government to decide, in the context of the Government's energy and climate change goals and the alternative options for achieving these, and after public consultation, could Government support a tidal power scheme (or combination of schemes) in the Severn Estuary and if so on what terms.

8. The study - which will build on past-studies to provide an up-to-date analysis of all the key issues involved - is being carried out by a cross-Government team lead by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) and including representatives of the Welsh Assembly Government and the South West Regional Development Agency. The team will also be taking external advice as necessary and engaging stakeholders and the wider public.

9. The study has six key work areas:

* Environmental - impacts on biodiversity and wildlife; flood management; geomorphology; water quality; landscape; compensatory habitat

* Engineering and Technical - options appraisal; costs; design and construction; grid linkage

* Economic - financing; ownership; energy market impacts

* Regional - impacts on business; regional social and economic impacts

* Planning and consents - regulatory compliance

* Stakeholder engagement and communication

10. The study will also include a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), to ensure a detailed understanding of its environmental resource of the Estuary, recognising its National, European and International nature conservation significance. This will be a two phase process with two public consultations - one on the scope towards the end of this year and one on the evidence and conclusions at the end of the feasibility study in late 2009 or early 2010.

11. The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform helps UK business succeed in an increasingly competitive world. It promotes business growth and a strong enterprise economy, leads the better regulation agenda and champions free and fair markets. It is the shareholder in a number of Government-owned assets and it works to secure, clean and competitively priced energy supplies