News and views from north Bristol's urban village

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Severn Barrage Could Reduce Flooding

One of the benefits of building a tidal barrage across the Severn to generate electricity is that such a structure could reduce the risk of flooding further up the Severn, according to Professor Roger Falconer of Cardiff University.

I have no reason to doubt this claim. The good Professor's thirty year career in generating models to predict tidal flow places his knowledge in this area considerably ahead of my own.

Despite this, I still feel a little uneasy about the barrage proposal, previously reported on here. Although it may be able to produce up to 5% of the country's electricity needs, it does have some down sides:
The report recommending the barrage, produced by the Sustainable Development Commission, also acknowledges that tidal stream technology also has a lot to commend it. It seems, however, that this option, which involves underwater turbines being powered by the movement of the tide, and which is far less intrusive from a development point of view, has been overlooked primarily because the technology is at a less advanced stage of its development.

Tidal stream, however, seems to me to represent a different type of thinking about energy production in a post-carbon world, being smaller scale and less invasive. I can't help thinking that the barrage is yesterday's thinking not tomorrow's.

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