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Gloucestershire Business News

Case for £30 billion Severn tidal barrage 'urgent and compelling'

Backers of a £30 billion tidal energy barrage across the Severn Estuary say the case is now 'both urgent and compelling'.

The Great Western Power Barrage envisages a concrete embankment across the Severn Estuary in which turbines are installed to generate electricity from the tide.

The proposed location is from Lavernock Point, just south of Cardiff, to near Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Exploring tidal power was high on the agenda for last week's Green Growth Western Gateway conference run by the Western Gateway Partnership.

The estuary has a huge tidal range of up to 15 metres and that brings energy generation potential. It could provide 8-15 GW - equivalent to electricity from 500-1000 of the world's largest wind turbines or from 16,000-30,000 hectares of solar panels. It would provide at least twice as much energy as any other UK power plant.

The team behind the project are David Evans, with 40 years of experience in the construction industry, financial partner David Grundy and Bob Long, with 40 years engineering experience, specialising in renewable energy.

The team say it's a project that has come of age as the UK seeks to reduce its use of fossil fuels. Alternatives, such as wind and solar, fluctuate with the weather whereas a barrage across the estuary would provide reliable energy.

They add: "A second and no less important difference is the increasing awareness of the effects of climate change."

They admit, however, that they face a number of obstacles. There is the carbon cost of construction, the loss of inter-tidal mudflats, interruptions to fish migration and access to upstream ports.

The barrage would be built using proven technologies. The aim would be to maximise the use of local supply chains.

A new independent commission is to be set up to investigate tidal power as the search for renewable energy sources increases in popularity.

The initiative was proposed at last week's South Wales and western England's first powerhouse conference on Green Growth.

Leaders from across business and research, with local and national government representatives from both sides of the Severn, met in Newport to discuss how to push 'levelling up' and create 'greener and fairer' communities.

A previous Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon power scheme, based out of Gloucester, was rejected by the Government in June 2018.

An earlier attempt to harness the tidal power of the Severn Estuary in 2010, with a 10-mile barrage across the Severn Estuary between Lavernock Point in Wales and Sand Point in Somerset was also abandoned.

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