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Welsh Assembly Recommends Severn Barrage

A £10 billion-plus Severn Barrage which, it is claimed, could generate as much power as two nuclear stations for the next 150 years and more is among the options for 'safe, secure and sufficient' energy supplies recommended to the UK Energy Review by the Welsh Assembly Government.

The Severn Barrage should be accompanied by development of new technologies to extract energy on a long-term basis from underground coal reserves, together with more attention to energy efficiency and micro-generation opportunities, the Assembly Government says.

The Welsh Assembly Government’s energy vision aims to develop low and zero carbon technologies and develop cleaner fossil fuel technologies while advancing economic prosperity. Among the key, mid-to-long term options of greatest interest are renewable energy sources, clean fossil-fuel technologies and the “exceptional opportunity” presented by building a barrage between Lavernock, near Cardiff, and Brean Down, near Weston-super-Mare to tap the enormous tidal energies in the Severn estuary.

"The barrage would be equivalent to around two nuclear power stations operating continuously, lasting not 40 to 50 years with a problematic legacy but operating for 150 years plus", says Andrew Davies, Minister for Enterprise, Innovation and Networks, and Energy Minister for Wales.

"Throughout its life the barrage would produce zero-carbon electricity on a totally predictable, low-cost and reliable basis, which could also have considerable long-term... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
The Severn Barrage should be accompanied by development of new technologies to extract energy on a long-term basis from underground coal reserves, together with more attention to energy efficiency and micro-generation opportunities, the Assembly Government says.

The Welsh Assembly Government’s energy vision aims to develop low and zero carbon technologies and develop cleaner fossil fuel technologies while advancing economic prosperity. Among the key, mid-to-long term options of greatest interest are renewable energy sources, clean fossil-fuel technologies and the “exceptional opportunity” presented by building a barrage between Lavernock, near Cardiff, and Brean Down, near Weston-super-Mare to tap the enormous tidal energies in the Severn estuary.

"The barrage would be equivalent to around two nuclear power stations operating continuously, lasting not 40 to 50 years with a problematic legacy but operating for 150 years plus", says Andrew Davies, Minister for Enterprise, Innovation and Networks, and Energy Minister for Wales.

"Throughout its life the barrage would produce zero-carbon electricity on a totally predictable, low-cost and reliable basis, which could also have considerable long-term financial investment attractions’, the Minister says. ‘While the construction of any barrage would require dealing with some significant environmental and engineering challenges, the Assembly Government and the South West England Regional Assembly now consider it appropriate to re-examine the Severn barrage proposals in depth."

The pursuit of renewable energy production both large scale and through micro-generation is a priority in Wales – and the Assembly Government has set ambitious targets for boosting renewable energy generation, the Minister says. While wind energy is currently the most commercially attractive source, bio mass energy (including energy generated from waste), solar power and wave-powered energy, all have considerable potential in Wales.

Mr Davies concluded, "Our renewables objectives embrace far more than wind power. We want to see a wide range of other technologies developed both at the large and small scale.  We are making considerable progress on a range of biomass projects - especially in locally supplied heating systems for public sector buildings such as schools, leisure centres and the new, BREEAM rated Assembly building in Cardiff Bay. In addition we already have substantial hydro power and pumped storage systems with potential for more."

The Severn barrage scheme has already aroused some opposition, however. Morgan Parry, Head of WWF Cymru commented: "We accept the urgent need for the Welsh Assembly Government to address climate change through developing marine renewables as a means of reducing carbon dioxide emissions but building the Severn Barrage is not the answer. The environmental damage caused by constructing a 10 mile concrete energy dinosaur will cause irreversible damage to Wales and England's most important estuaries."

"We agree with the Assembly that there's huge potential to take advantage of the tidal range in the Severn Estuary for energy generation as it the second highest tidal range in the world. We strongly recommend that more suitable technologies are deployed to capture the energy of the Severn Estuary, such as stand-alone tidal generators, tidal fences and further research into tidal lagoons."

Environmentalists dispute that the saving in carbon dioxide emissions will be fully reaped because of the huge cost in the construction and transportation of materials. If housing, road links, commercial development and a new airport are built as part of the development, CO2 emissions will soar. The timescale of building such a project is vast - even if construction work began next year it would take up to 15 years before the Barrage was operating - this would mean it would not contribute to Wales's 2010 and 2020 carbon dioxide reduction targets.

Construction of the Barrage has been estimated at £10-13 billion which would totally undermine the development of small-scale green energy supplies in Wales.


Source: http://www.newbuilder.co.uk...

APR 30 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/2372-welsh-assembly-recommends-severn-barrage
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