Feeds

Tidal power plans pit greens against greens

Energy vs conservation

The Power of One Infographic

The Sustainable Development Commission has given its backing to a proposed tidal power project in the Severn Estuary, despite objections from environmentalists.

The commission published a report today analysing how the tidal resources in the UK could be tapped for clean energy. It says tidal power has the potential to generate 10 per cent of the UK's energy budget, if properly exploited. The proposed barrage of the Severn Estuary alone could provide more than four per cent of our electricity needs.

But the impact of building it would be to destroy 75 per cent of the existing intertidal habitat, an area that is protected by international law. The commission also warns that there is a high risk of other related but unsustainable development as a result of the barrage project. There would also be a knock-on effect on the local area and economy.

Last week, business and industry secretary John Hutton gave his support to the £14bn project, describing it as "visionary". He promised a feasibility study of the project, which in itself would cost several million pounds.

The SDC's report makes clear that it would only support the barrage on the condition that it could be made to comply with European conservation laws on wildlife habitats and creation of compensatory habitats. But the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds says there are alternatives that would do more to cut carbon emissions, without sacrificing the estuary.

It calls on the SDC to consider "other options for harnessing the Severn's tidal power such as tidal stream".

Dr Mark Avery, the RSPB's conservation director, said tackling climate change is hugely important, but that it can be done "without destroying irreplaceable national treasures like the Severn estuary".

"The government should be aiming to help [and] not destroy wildlife, and that applies to proposals for green energy schemes just as much as new supermarkets or housing estates," he added. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.