UK: New Approach Needed to Harness Severn Tidal Energy

UK New Approach Needed to Harness Severn Tidal Energy

Barrage really has been “studied to death”, but Select Committee backs alternative approach and calls on the Government to establish a new public governance to proactively manage Severn energy resources.

In a damning report the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee has killed off any chance that a Severn Barrage will be built across the Bristol Channel.

The MP’s report, which considered proposals submitted by the developer Hafren Power, highlights not only the environmental, technical, cost and financial issues that Hafren Power had failed to address, but also the impossibility of developing such a large renewable energy project in the face of overwhelming opposition.

While rejecting the claims of Hafren Power, the committee did however recognise the fantastic energy potential of the Bristol Channel and backed calls for an alternative approach to be adopted using a combination of smaller projects using tidal lagoons and new tidal steam technology.

Renewable energy experts Regen SW who submitted evidence to the committee have welcomed the report, Regen SW director Johnny Gowdy says, “the committee report has endorsed the views held by us, and many people both in the industry and environmental organisations, that the barrage is not the answer and we must find another way to harness the energy of the Bristol Channel to generate clean energy and jobs”

Amongst several recommendations the committee calls on the UK Government to put in place a much needed governance structure and to “consider how a more proactive approach to Severn resource management could stimulate growth in the marine renewables industry and drive forward tidal projects in the region”.

This question of governance is critical according to Johnny Gowdy, “it’s only with support from industry, environmental groups and communities on both the Welsh and English sides of the Bristol Channel that we successfully deliver strategic projects, that’s why we are supporting initiatives such as Sustainable Severn and the South West Marine Energy Park.”


Press release, June 17, 2013; Image: hafrenpower