137. The Severn Tidal Power Group was formed in
1984 to assess the potential of building a tidal barrage to generate
electricity. The tides in the Severn Estuary have the second highest
range in the world and the Group estimates that it could supply
6% of the current electricity demand of England and Wales.
The project stalled following privatisation of the industry and
has faced objections from environmentalists because of disruptions
to wildlife habitats.
In February 2002 the Group submitted a "Definition Study"
to determine whether re-appraisal of the Barrage was justified,
with the not unsurprising conclusion in the Energy White Paper
that it was. We
are not in a position to form a judgement on this project, except
to say that there is plenty of scope for installing renewable
energy generation with little or no environmental impact and that
these should be given priority. We agree with the Government's
conclusion that "plans for a Severn Barrage would raise strong
environmental concerns and we doubt if it would be fruitful to
pursue it at this stage. Tidal barrages may be capable of offering
major renewable projects which will help us reach our goals and
we will continue to explore opportunities".
138. Wave and tidal energy has enormous potential
and can deliver a clean and predictable energy supply. We recommend
that the UK should make a major investment in this niche market
and aim to generate at least 5% of its electricity using wave
and tidal technologies by 2020.
236 Unprinted memorandum from the Severn Tidal Power
Friends of the Earth press release, 11 February 2002 Back
The Severn Barrage-Definition Study for a New Appraisal of the
Project. Final Report: January 2002 ETSU Report No. T/09/00212/00/rep Back
DTI, Our energy future-creating a low carbon future, Cm
5761, February 2003, para 4.54 Back