£500k up for grabs for Severn tidal research

Government has set aside £500,000 to help environmental entrepreneurs develop new technologies that could be used to harness the tidal power of the River Severn.

The Severn has one of the highest tidal ranges of any river in the world and, if correctly harnessed, could meet a predicted 5% of the UK’s energy demands.

Government has been holding a consultation into the possible technologies and has come up with a shortlist of possible schemes including barrages of varying sizes and tidal lagoons.

Before a final decision is taken on whether to take any of these schemes forward, Government says it wants to be sure some of the newer technologies would work as intended.

To this end, it has set up the Severn Embryonic Technologies Scheme to help smaller companies get their ideas off the drawing board.

Energy and Climate Change Minister, Mike O’Brien said: “This funding will help us understand the potential of these emerging ideas and whether, and how long, we would have to wait for them to come to fruition.

“The Severn estuary has massive potential to help achieve our climate change and renewable energy targets. So far our consultation on a proposed shortlist of five schemes has received over 400 responses.

“As well as this shortlist, I am keen to keep innovative options on the table. That’s why we are inviting companies to bid for a share of the funds to accelerate progress.”

New fund open to take Severn Estuary tidal concepts from the drawing board

Ministers from the Welsh Assembly and central Government met with potential bidders in Bristol this week to discuss the scheme.

Welsh Assembly Government Environment, Sustainability and Housing Minister Jane Davidson said: “I am pleased that the Welsh Assembly Government is working with other government departments to lead the global research on embryonic tidal technologies while making progress with the second phase of the feasibility study into Severn Tidal Power options.

“Our hope is that that some of these new technologies will show promise for harnessing tidal energy with minimal environmental impact, in the Severn Estuary or elsewhere around our coast. The potential benefits could be shared across the world.

“They could help reduce our carbon footprint, improve our energy security and create green jobs. We want to encourage companies involved with marine technology to apply for access to this fund to help demonstrate the potential of innovative technologies.”

Sam Bond

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