Lagoons put forward as barrage alternative

MASSIVE tidal lagoons in the middle of the Severn Estuary could be put forward as an alternative to a 100m long barrage between Brean Down and Wales

MASSIVE tidal lagoons in the middle of the Severn Estuary could be put forward as an alternative to a 100m long barrage between Brean Down and Wales. A Government watchdog is busy putting together a report suggesting other ideas on how to use tidal power as an alternative to the Severn Barrage. The Severn Lake Company Limited, a privately owned business, released plans in February to build a 100m causeway between Lavernock Point in Wales and Brean Down. The proposed development would include 200 hydro-electric turbines on top of the wall to harness wind energy.Now the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) is preparing a report which is expected to suggest tidal lagoons instead. A lagoon is a circular wall with water turbines built into the sides. As the tides rise and fall, water would move in and out of the walls, turning the turbines inside. The Rance Estuary in Brittany, France, is an example of a successful tidal plant, and the UK's most likely sites are the Severn and Mersey estuaries. According to Friends of the Earth Cymru, the lagoons could generate up to 24 tera-watt hours of energy per year, compared to the barrage which would be estimated to create 19.The group has also argued that lagoons would not significantly impact on shipping lanes like the barrage, which would have a locked-gate system to allow ships to access ports such as Avonmouth and Cardiff. The SDC, Welsh Assembly Government and the South West Regional Development Agency are now putting together the report, which will explore the potential of tidal power in the UK, including proposals for the Severn Estuary. The work is being funded by several groups and is expected to cost £300,000. The SDC is heading the project and is expected to release the final report in June. Before it can be published, the SDC will carry out a number of studies to find out the environmental impacts tidal power could have, how the EU constraints on habitats and birds will effect the proposals and whether tidal power is publicly acceptable.


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