December 3, 2014
Fresh talks on tidal power proposals welcomed in Burnham-On-Sea

Fresh hopes have been raised this week that tidal energy could soon be harnessed in the Bristol Channel near Burnham-On-Sea after a key government announcement.

A £1bn plan to build the world's first power-generating tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay has been given a boost as the government revealed discussions are underway with the developers, Tidal Lagoon Power Limited. It has also been named in the National Infrastructure Plan.

The government's discussions are seeking to establish whether tidal lagoon projects are affordable and provide value for money for consumers, re-opening the possibility of a lagoon in Bridgwater Bay, first reported here in 2009.

Burnham-On-Sea's MP Tessa Munt and Conservative candidate James Heappey have both welcomed the news this week.

Tessa, pictured with Eva Bishop of the Swansea Tidal Lagoon Power Project, said: "In March this year, I used my position as Chair of my party’s Energy & Climate Change Backbench Committee to introduce Eva Bishop, Director of Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd, to Ed Davey, the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change."

"I never waste an opportunity to encourage him to meet experts and entrepreneurs operating in the clean, green, renewable sector and it seems it’s finally paying off. He was persuaded that tidal power is in reach, a reality and a fantastic resource here in the West, where the tidal reach and range in the Bristol Channel is the second highest in the world."

"I’m a long-term supporter of tidal power. The potential of this technology is immense and most of us here in the West Country understand that. Harnessing the power of the nation’s tides has the potential to supply as much as 10% of the UK’s electricity by 2023."

And James Heappey, pictured on a visit to Marine Current Turbines, added: "Progress and Government backing for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is great news as it brings the likelihood of an even bigger lagoon across the Bridgwater Bay. Tidal energy generation is a fantastic opportunity for our region and a chance for us to lead the world in developing this technology."

"The turbines in a lagoon would spin for 14 to 16 hours in every 24 and – crucially – they’ll be generating electricity at times that are entirely predictable. This means that whereas wind and solar require a back up generating capability in case the sun isn’t shining or the wind doesn’t blow; National Grid can say confidently how much energy would be generated by tidal power stations from the moment they are built until the day they are decommissioned."

He added: "The energy being generated is not to be sniffed at. A lagoon across the Bridgwater Bay could generate a whopping 14.2 terawatt hours of energy every year. That is over half the energy currently being generated by all 30,000 onshore wind turbines in the UK."

"I’ve been visiting a whole host of tidal energy companies over the last two years to really understand the opportunities available to us off our coast. Lagoons are the most immediate option but the tidal flow turbine industry is following quickly behind and there are emerging ‘tidal reef’ technologies too. If we get behind this industry, it will mean jobs, investment, clean energy and a boost to our tourist industry too."

Pictured: Top - the proposed lagoon; Centre - Tessa Munt with Eva Bishop, Director of the Swansea Tidal Lagoon Power Project; Above - James Heappey on a visit to Marine Current Turbines (a subsidiary of Siemens) in Bristol to discuss tidal flow turbines


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