An ill wind that blows some good?
In amongst all the forecasts of imminent doom and gloom from George Osborne next week there is one piece of good news forced by cash considerations…
The Severn barrage has been shelved as not economically viable as well as environmentally disastrous~ Yay!
see this from the Telegraph!
Scrapping the Severn Barrage should be used to boost, not bury, tidal power
By Geoffrey Lean Politics Last updated: October 17th, 2010
2 Comments Comment on this article
Is the rocket about to crash? I ask because, just two years ago, David Cameron promised he would put “rocket boosters” behind developing tidal energy if he came to power. But now, it is reported, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne will tomorrow scrap the proposed Severn Barrage, favoured by the last government, which alone could have provided Britain with five per cent of its electricity.
Back in June 2008, in a speech to environmentalists, Mr Cameron said this was something he was ‘really excited about’, noting that ‘Britain’s coastline is over 11,000 miles long and has some of the highest tidal ranges in the world’, providing a ‘free,constantly renewed energy source’. He pledged to put investing in ‘developing new and cost effective technologies to harness wave and tidal power in Britain’ without delay, ‘right at the top of our green agenda’. And both the Tory election manifesto and the Coalition Agreement promised to push marine energy.
In fairness, the Prime Minister stopped short of endorsing the Severn Barrage, and it was not mentioned in either the manifesto or the agreement. And the ten-mile long structure, costing at least £10 billion, is not the best way of tapping the constant energy of the tides. Its economics are dubious, and it would cause considerable environmental damage by changing the flow of water in the estuary. Three official Government watchdogs – the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Countryside Council for Wales – warned that it would result in ‘irreversible impacts’ to the estuary’s ‘internationally important habitats’ for wildlife and its ‘unique ecology’.
But there are other, more attractive options. One is a series of lagoons, which – preliminary studies have suggested – could provide more energy and be built faster than the barrage, without changing the ecology of the estuary: indeed, they might even provide new wildlife havens. More promising still, new technologies are being developed to make energy directly from tidal streams. One such contraption – shaped like an upside down, underwater windmill – is already generating energy from the tides of Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough. But the most attractive spot of all for them is the Pentland Firth between the Orkney islands and the Scottish mainland; some experts, dubbing it the ‘Saudi Arabia of marine energy’ say it alone could generate up to a quarter of Britain’s energy.
David Cameron still can, and should, make good on his promise, by boosting research into these new options. Britain’s tides are just too good to waste, and they provide a regular, reliable source of clean energy – unlike the intermittent winds on which Government policies are making us too reliant. If he doesn’t, he really will deserve a rocket.
Tags: Chris Huhne, David Cameron, Pentland Firth, Severn Barrage, Strangford Lough, tidal energy
- 17 Oct, 2010
- 1 like
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