Newly named contractors to seek proposals for Severn tidal

A newly named consortium led by Parsons Brinckerhoff is expected to issue a call for proposals this month for tidal power schemes for the United Kingdom’s Severn Estuary, which could have a capacity as high as 8,640 MW.

The U.K.’s Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) said May 6 it awarded a contract for a strategic environmental assessment of the proposed Severn Barrage project to a consortium led by Parsons Brinckerhoff and including Black &Veatch of the United States.

Other members of the consortium, which won the two-year contract in public tendering, include the Environment Council, Environ, ABPmer, HR Wallingford, Hartley Anderson, and George Corderoy. BERR also named PricewaterhouseCoopers to advise on financing and ownership options for the project.

Secretary of State for Energy John Hutton released terms of reference in January for a feasibility study of the project on Severn Estuary between England and Wales. (HNN 1/23/08) Using conventional hydroelectric equipment, the project would generate an estimated 17 terawatt-hours per year to supply 5 percent of the U.K.’s electricity from renewable sources.

The U.K.’s Sustainable Development Commission issued a report in October 2007 that estimated the project would cost about 15 billion pounds (US$30 billion).

Project officials are to consider all tidal range technologies, utilizing the vertical distance between high tide and low tide, rather than tidal stream technology, utilizing flows. Electricity is generated by impounding water at high tide and releasing it through turbines at low tide. Tides in Severn Estuary range up to 42 feet.

BERR said one of the first actions of the contractor will be to issue a call for evidence, probably in the next week. It is to include two parts:
o A call for proposals for tidal power schemes in the Severn Estuary using tidal range technology; and
o A request for any information (environmental, technical, commercial, social) that exists or is under development that could contribute to evidence for the assessment schemes and the subsequent environmental assessment.

The call for proposals is to be open for submissions for about a month, with the wider call for information open for two months. Details are to be available on the BERR Internet site, www.berr.gov.uk.

For information, contact Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, 7th Floor, 1 Victoria St., London SW1H 0ET United Kingdom; (44) 20-72155000; Internet: www.berr.gov.uk.

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