UK Abandons Plans For Wave Energy Project

Britain has decided to abandon plans for a tidal wave energy project in the Severn estuary following the results of a two-year feasibility study.

According to a statement by Chris Huhne, the UK’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the government does not have enough evidence to susbstantiate public funding of a tidal scheme at this time.

“The costs and risks for the taxpayer and energy consumer would be excessive compared to other low-carbon energy options,” said Huhne.

The British coastline is 11,072 miles long and has some of the highest tidal ranges in the world. The tidal range in the Severn Estuary that creates the Severn Bore can be as much as 50 feet, the second highest in the world (Renewable Energy Centre).

The Severn’s enormous tidal range could provide up to 5 percent of the UK’s current electricity generation from an indigenous renewable source, and bring new employment opportunities locally and nationally.

Unfortunately, the Severn estuary and some of its tributaries have been designated as internationally important nature conservation sites. Compliance with protective regulations would add to the cost and risk of construction.

According to Huhne, the government believes that other options, such as the expansion of wind energy, carbon capture and storage and nuclear power, represent a better deal for taxpayers and consumers, but says it may review the idea again in 2015.

The largest tidal power station in the world (and the only one in Europe) is located in the Rance estuary in northern France and has been generating 240 MW of power since 1966.

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Image Credit: Flickr - wonderlane

73 comments

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton4 years ago

This was the wrong site for the proposed project; it would have done a great deal of damage to wildlife habitats. Shame they couldn't find a more appropriate site instead of cancelling the project altogether. The UK government favours wind power projects above all other green initiatives because wealthy land owners who have wind farms receive huge subsidies from the EU. Of course, it is no coincidence that many of those who benefit financially are related to MPs......

Roxana J.
Roxana J.5 years ago

Interesting... hope they find other ways to produce green energy.

Tina Scislow
Tina Scislow5 years ago

I repeat....I believe that the situation is actually worse than we are being told and therefore situations such as this one must not happen at all.

Nicole W.
Nicole W.5 years ago

Ugghh, come on.

Terry S.
Terry S.5 years ago

I live near the site in question, the Severn estuary, and would like to make two points.

First, this is NOT a "Wave Energy Project" - it is a tidal energy project, the two are entirely different.

Second, as a long-standing conservationist and environmentalist I am very pleased that this project has been abandoned. Most of the other contributors seem to be unaware that the mudflats and area surrounding the Severn estuary are internationally important wildlife sites, both for resident flora and fauna and, most especially, for migrating birds. Had the tidal barrage gone ahead then much of this would have been destroyed.

I am particularly angry that Beth Buczynski, the author of this ignorant article, wrote: "Unfortunately, the Severn estuary and some of its tributaries have been designated as internationally important nature conservation sites." Unfortunately!!!! The fact that the area has been so designated is entirely fortunate and positive. There is nothing 'unfortunate' about it. Idiot! Don't you care about the natural world and conserving its flora and fauna?

In reality had this project gone ahead it would have had minimal impact on the UK's greenhouse gas emissions, but it would have had a huge (and negative) impact on the UK's wildlife. The energy produced would have just been used to further support our wasteful lifestyle. The real solution is to conserve energy, stop waste and reduce the size of the human population - the UK is grossly overpopulated.


Victoria B.
Victoria B.5 years ago

WE AS HUMANS NEED TO GROW UP, THIS WAVE ENERGY IS A WAY FORWARD, WE NEED TO TAKE IT FOR THE GREATER GOOD, AND URGENTLY.

Aludra N.
susan m.5 years ago

does this surprise anyone?? Greed strikes again and will take all of us out, permanently. God will throw humans into the trash can and try another species that might actually care about each other and our Earth home. Think it can't happen? We're well on our way to extinction, but hey, money will fix everything. Can we breathe, drink or eat it??

Cristina G.
Cristina G.5 years ago

they only interested in money....

Kendra R.

stupid people! stupid people! using anything that we can to help us make a cleaner earth is good, as long as it does more good then bad. why would they want to stop something that can be good for the planet they live on??

karin m.
Karin M.5 years ago

I do not know.