UPDATE - Tidal power proposals sought for U.K.'s Severn Estuary

A consortium led by Parsons Brinckerhoff seeks proposals for tidal power schemes for the United Kingdom's Severn Estuary, which could have a capacity as high as 8,640 MW. Responses are due June 13.

The consortium also seeks filings by July 11 of information that that could contribute to evidence for the assessment of tidal schemes and a subsequent environmental assessment.

The U.K.'s Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) awarded a contract May 6 for a strategic environmental assessment of the proposed Severn Barrage project to a consortium led by Parsons Brinckerhoff and including Black &Veatch of the United States. (HNN 5/6/08)

Other members of the consortium, which won the two-year contract in public tendering, include the Environment Council, Environ, ABPmer, HR Wallingford, Hartley Anderson, and George Corderoy. BERR also named PricewaterhouseCoopers to advise on financing and ownership options for the project.

Secretary of State for Energy John Hutton released terms of reference in January for a feasibility study of the project on Severn Estuary between England and Wales. (HNN 1/23/08) Using conventional hydroelectric equipment, the project would generate an estimated 17 terawatt-hours per year to supply 5 percent of the U.K.'s electricity from renewable sources.

The U.K.'s Sustainable Development Commission issued a report in October 2007 that estimated the project would cost about 15 billion pounds (US$30 billion).

Project officials are to consider all tidal range technologies, utilizing the vertical distance between high tide and low tide, rather than tidal stream technology, utilizing flows. Electricity is generated by impounding water at high tide and releasing it through turbines at low tide. Tides in Severn Estuary range up to 42 feet.

The contractor consortium issued a call for evidence including two parts:
o A call for proposals by June 13 for tidal power schemes in the Severn Estuary using tidal range technology of at least 50 MW; and
o A request for any information (environmental, technical, commercial, social) by July 11 that could contribute to evidence for the assessment schemes and the subsequent environmental assessment.

The call for evidence document may be obtained from the Parsons Brinckerhoff Internet site, www.pbworld.co.uk.

Responses are to be submitted to Severn Estuary SEA Team, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Queen Victoria House, Redland Hill, Bristol BS6 6US United Kingdom; (44) 117-9339259; E-mail: severnsea@pbworld.com.

For information, contact Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, 7th Floor, 1 Victoria St., London SW1H 0ET United Kingdom; (44) 20-72155000; E-mail: severntidalpowerunit@berr.gsi.gov.uk; Internet: www.berr.gov.uk/energy/severntidalpower.

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