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.
Image Credit: Flickr - wonderlane