U.K. government rejects Severn Estuary tidal power proposal

Severn Estuary Tidal Power

The United Kingdom has rejected a proposal for a US$40 billion tidal power project that would have been located in the Severn Estuary, per a statement from Parliament’s Energy and Climate Change Committee.

The government said it would consider the Halfren Power proposal in January, but announced earlier this week that the developer’s plan “does not demonstrate that it could deliver the benefits it claims it would achieve.”

Halfren Power’s most recent plan was a slightly modified version of one previously rejected by Parliament in October 2010 and could have been capable of providing as much as 5% of the United Kingdom’s energy, the company said.

Still, the Parliament’s committee said the barrage was “unproven”, and that it posed a “high risk of unintended and possibly damaging consequences.”

“The Severn Estuary has great potential,” Parliament said. “However, the government recognizes that a traditional tidal barrage is not the only way of exploiting the outstanding resources of the Severn Estuary.”

Still, the committee said it would be open to again assessing Halfren Power’s proposal should the company provide “much more detailed, credible evidence” with regard to the project’s environmental impacts, turbine modeling, job creation, waterway navigation considerations, flood impact figures, technical feasibility and more.

“The government remains keen to hear about well-developed proposals for harnessing the power of the Severn Estuary — be it through a barrage or other means,” a statement said. “However, any such scheme would need to credibly demonstrate strong evidence of value for money, economic benefits, energy saving and environmental impact mitigation before the government could take a view on its potential.”

HydroWorld.com reported in January 2009 that the plan was one of several proposals for Severn Estuary shortlisted by the U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change.

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