Severn barrage power schemes out for consultation

Energy secretary Ed Miliband short listed five options for tidal power schemes in the Severn estuary on Monday

By far the largest and most controversial project contained in the Energy Department (DECC) consultation is the Cardiff-Weston Barrage. This would cost around £20.9 billion and generate 16.8 terawatts hours per year or some 5% of UK’s electricity consumption. It could save some 7.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

There are two proposals for impoundments, each adjacent to shorelines of the estuary. The Fleming lagoon, on the Welsh shore between Newport and the Severn road crossings, would cost around £4 billion and could generate 2.3TWh/year. The £3.8 billion Bridgwater Bay lagoon on the English shore between Hinkley Point and Weston-Super-Mare could generate 2.6TWh/year.

There are also two smaller barrage proposals. The £3.2 billion Shoots Barrage, near the Severn road crossings, generating some 2.7TWh/year, or almost 1% of UK electricity. This would be equivalent to a large fossil fuel power station.

The smaller £2.3 billion Beachley Barrage, further upstream, and upstream of the Wye, would generate around 1.6TWh/year.

Mr Miliband also announced an additional £0.5m of government funding to help bring forward less developed, more innovative options including tidal reefs and tidal fences.

A final decision is still some way off, with a second consultation due in about 2010, taking into account progress in more novel options.

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