Friday, February 7, 2014

Tidal power development back in Wales

I'm part Welsh, and some of my family, including my mother and father when they were alive, and my sister, and various cousins on both sides distant and close, live in the valleys and coastal towns of South Wales. When I go "home" to see family, that's now the first place I go, the second being the hills and valleys of the west side of Sheffield (one of the birthplaces of the industrial revolution, thanks to the coal, iron ore and water power found there in close cohabitation).

When I'm back in Wales, I often take a walk on the beaches of the Severn estuary. This tidal inlet, large even by American standards, has been proposed, on-again/off-again, for tidal power development over many decades.

Finally one development has made it to the permit application stage.

This is going to be an important project in the history of renewable energy development, and may even have importance for Maine.

It will be interesting to see what happens, especially as I'll literally be able to see, i.e., visit and take photographs over the years.

Like a lot of good multiple-use renewable energy projects dating back to the days of the TVA and BPA, this one seems to have multiple planned uses, including recreation, sport, brownfield redevelopment, and mariculture.

I would also like to see a full cost accounting of this proposal, including any UK government subsidy. It seems likely to be expensive per kWh, especially compared say to offshore or land-based wind in the same region, although it would be less obtrusive to nearby property owners than wind power would be, and even a positive development for property owners close to the very large brownfield sites in Swansea, previously a center of copper smelting, among other heavy industry. I'll keep looking.

Here's the news article:

Here's the company web page:

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