The Welsh Assembly government recommended a Severn Barrage generation project as part of its submission to the UK's Energy Policy Review last week.

The project, expected to cost some UKĀ£10B (US$17B), will see an 8.4GW barrage between Lavernock, near Cardiff, and Brean Down, near Weston-super-Mare, described as an ‘exceptional opportunity’ in the submission.

The decision follows a February 2002 paper for discussion by the Economic Development Committee of the National Assembly for Wales that concluded: ‘The Severn Barrage is a feasible project well within the scope of existing technology and remains the largest single project which could make a significant contribution to carbon reduction in a reasonable timescale.’

The paper, by the Severn Tidal Power Group (STPG), a joint venture between Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty, Alstom, Rolls Royce, Taylor Woodrow and Tarmac, further estimates that a Severn Barrage could generate up to 6% of England and Wales’ energy demand. It also suggests that the project would take six years to build and could be generating by 2017.

Andrew Davies, Minister for Enterprise, Innovation and Networks, and Energy Minister for Wales, said: ‘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.’

Nonetheless, green groups are opposed the scheme and instead favour tidal lagoons that would not fully cross the river.


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