New commission formed to look at Severn estuary tidal power

A new commission has been formed to investigate the potential for tidal power generation on the Severn estuary.

The Severn estuary is a body of water which flows into the Bristol Channel between England and South Wales, and the second largest tidal range in the world.

The news comes after JP Morgan predicted earlier this month that oil could hit $185 a barrel if the Russian supply chain continues to be disrupted.

“Russia’s invasion has served to heighten concerns about energy security and costs," said secretary of state for levelling up Michael Gove. "Sustainable forms of energy cannot come soon enough.”

He added: “The launch of an independent commission on tidal energy for the Severn is very welcome news.”

The news comes 12 years after the government dropped plans to build a 16km barrage to use the Severn’s tides for green energy.

The new commission will be formed by the pan-regional Western Gateway Partnership, which covers western England and south Wales.

“We’ve known for some time that the Severn has huge potential for creating clean renewable energy,” said Katherine Bennett CBE, chair of the Western Gateway Partnership. “With the second largest tidal range in the world, it has been estimated that this could create up to 7 per cent of the UK’s total energy needs.”

“Following new commitments to combat climate change at COP 26 and advances with technology, we want to have another look at the evidence to see whether there is a viable solution to harnessing this energy and protecting our environment.”

She added: “I look forward to seeing more announcements about this commission later this year.”

“The time is right to look again at what could be an incredible source of clean, environmentally friendly energy on our doorstep,” said Jane Mudd, leader of Newport City Council and vice chair of the Western Gateway. “We need to play our part in finding solutions to the global climate crisis and the commission will have the expertise and independence it needs to explore whether using the Severn Estuary to create sustainable power is attainable and viable.”

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