Plans for world's first tidal power plant

How far can the power of the sea contribute to the energy needs of the UK?

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adam2
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Post by adam2 »

I am reasonably hopeful that a tidal lagoon if built will actually produce the claimed power with reasonable reliability.
If instead the money was spent on nuclear, then I am less hopeful that the power will actually be produced.
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Post by adam2 »

"tidal lagoon project thrown out"

Regrettably in my view. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-sou ... s-44589083
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Post by clv101 »

It's a complicated situation. It is really expensive. Cutting demand or building new generating capacity with off-shore wind would be a lot cheaper low-carbon solutions. But one thing that makes us more cost sensitive than perhaps we should be is the way the subsidy is paid through our bills. This is a horribly regressive way to pay for things, and creates understandable backlash.

Personally, as a chartered engineer living nearby, I would have liked to see the project go ahead, but I can understand why it probably wasn't a good idea.
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Post by woodburner »

Personally as a not chartered engineer living nowhere near I would like it not to go ahead and destroy yet another habitat used by species other than the incredibly selfish and thoughtless and greedy human! :!:
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Post by BritDownUnder »

It would have been a nice test project into tidal power in my opinion. Better to see the money spent in the UK rather than squandered overseas (or on an Olympic bid or World Cup bid) or even on Russian or Qatari gas.
I sympathize with the people of Wales on this lost opportunity to develop low carbon electricity generation.

On the negative side it seems that the length of wall compared with the lagoon area enclosed does not make good use of natural features such as coastlines and islands and hence the (I think) 9km wall/barrier and I guess about 1km of natural coastline meant that the construction cost would have been higher.
I am aware of the differences between a tidal lagoon and a tidal barrage across an estuary and think that a project such as that proposed somewhere in Lancashire across a small estuary would have been more cost effective. Combined with flood defence such as across the Wash to protect the highly valuable agricultural land of the Fens against man made global warming induced sea level rise I think there is merit in large scale barrages before the country becomes too bankrupt to pay for them.
I do appreciate, Mr Woodburner, that a barrage is probably more damaging to non-human life, as is indeed most human 'development' but that is not a good enough excuse for me anyway to stop the development of low-carbon electricity.

I can only think that the government stood back and baulked at the cost of a 'test' project.

On an unrelated note I have been try to become a chartered engineer in Australia for a while now but it is a bit of an old boys club over here and recent changes have made this even more so. Basically you need a chartered engineer in your organisation to sponsor your development.
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Post by adam2 »

clv101 wrote:It's a complicated situation. It is really expensive. Cutting demand or building new generating capacity with off-shore wind would be a lot cheaper low-carbon solutions. But one thing that makes us more cost sensitive than perhaps we should be is the way the subsidy is paid through our bills. This is a horribly regressive way to pay for things, and creates understandable backlash.

Personally, as a chartered engineer living nearby, I would have liked to see the project go ahead, but I can understand why it probably wasn't a good idea.
Cutting demand might indeed be cheaper, but I see no suggestion that any of the money saved by not building the tidal lagoon is instead to be spent on demand reduction.
Wind power is getting cheaper, and in IMO, we need more of it. Not however the complete answer as the wind does not blow all the time.
Tidal power by contrast can be accurately predicted, and can also be modulated according to demand, at least to an extent.

I suspect that without this project, that our already unwise reliance on imported natural gas will increase.

Elsewhere on these forums, the inadequacy of our natural gas storage is discussed. Neither private capital nor HMG seem keen to build more storage, since in strictly cash terms it is unlikely to make a profit.
As a result we are increasingly vulnerable to any supply problems.

It could IMHO, reasonably be argued that building more renewable generating capacity SHOULD be subsidised on energy security grounds and by reducing the need for more natural gas storage.

Consider as an example, the building of another 2GW of wind turbines.
2GW would not be produced continually of course, but taking "winter" as being 2,500 hours, one might expect in the region of 1000GWH of electricity to be produced.
That would save about 2,500 GWH of natural gas.
With winter natural gas stocks at very roughly 25,000GWH, the building of an additional 2GW of renewable generating capacity, has in effect also increased gas storage by 10%

2GW of tidal power would be of even greater benefit, since the capacity factor would be better.

Power would of course be produced, and natural gas be saved all year round, but winter is of greater concern.
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Post by Mark »

However, the Wyre Estuary tidal energy project still seems to be in the running....

Energy boss calls alternative scheme a 'golden opportunity' after government turns down Swansea tidal lagoon:
https://www.imeche.org/news/news-articl ... dal-lagoon
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Post by BritDownUnder »

That Wyre estuary project must have been the one I was thinking about. I would like to see larger schemes developed in the Humber, Wash and Thames estuaries and promoted as much as for flood defence and energy storage as for tidal energy roles. they could also make useful bridges in the case of the Thames and Humber anyway. This smaller scheme could be used as a test bed for similar larger schemes. I guess they could use the experience based on the 40 year old La Rance scheme in France but I guess UK civil servants don't speak French anymore.

Interesting that the only commenter on the article you posted was none other than the 'world famous in New Zealand' Bryan Leyland who is a New Zealand based Electrical Engineer with well known views on many things electrical. Google him if you are interested. I went to one of his lectures on Electrical Energy futures for New Zealand many years ago which degenerated into a farce about historic CO2 levels based on readings taken from Egyptian tombs.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

Anything in the Bristol Channel/Severn Estuary should be a good bet as this area has the biggest tidal difference in the UK. Perhaps the conventional energy companies behind the government's decision to drop Swansea Bay were conscious of this and so wanted another, less good, proposal to go ahead first and not be quite so much of a success, making it easier to stop any more encroachment on their profits.
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Post by BritDownUnder »

kenneal - lagger wrote:Anything in the Bristol Channel/Severn Estuary should be a good bet as this area has the biggest tidal difference in the UK. Perhaps the conventional energy companies behind the government's decision to drop Swansea Bay were conscious of this and so wanted another, less good, proposal to go ahead first and not be quite so much of a success, making it easier to stop any more encroachment on their profits.
Looking at the numbers it looks like the Bristol Channel has a tidal range maximum of 15 metres and the Wyre has 8.2 metres maximum.
The problem with the Severn is that while it is the best resource in the UK it also the biggest by far and will be the most costly. I would be happy for the Wyre to be used as a testbed and I think you will get far more MWh per unit civil construction cost from a barrage than you will from a lagoon because the 'walls' are much shorter.

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Post by woodburner »

kenneal - lagger wrote:Anything in the Bristol Channel/Severn Estuary should be a good bet as this area has the biggest tidal difference in the UK. Perhaps the conventional energy companies behind the government's decision to drop Swansea Bay were conscious of this and so wanted another, less good, proposal to go ahead first and not be quite so much of a success, making it easier to stop any more encroachment on their profits.
With frequently voiced ecological and environmental concerns, how do you square that with the wish to have a project which will destroy a major habitat?
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Post by adam2 »

In my view, the loss of wildlife habitat though regrettable is acceptable.

No means of producing electricity is completely benign, but renewables such as tidal power, wind, solar, and hydroelectric power, are in my view far preferable to the continued growth in fossil fuel burning.

Without much wider use of renewables, most wildlife habitats are doomed in any case due to rising temperatures, more energetic storms, and increasing sea levels.

It should be remembered that fossil fuel power plants not only add to carbon emissions by the continual fuel burning, but also result in a lot of carbon emissions during construction including the production of the materials used.

Tidal power involves a lot of construction materials, but once built it involves no significant ongoing carbon emissions.

Remember also that imported fossil fuels have an even worse environmental impact than similar UK produced fuels, due to the fuel used in building and operating transport facilities and the increased opportunities for leaks and losses.
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Post by woodburner »

adam2 wrote:In my view, the loss of wildlife habitat though regrettable is acceptable.

No means of producing electricity is completely benign, but renewables such as tidal power, wind, solar, and hydroelectric power, are in my view far preferable to the continued growth in fossil fuel burning.

Without much wider use of renewables, most wildlife habitats are doomed in any case due to rising temperatures, more energetic storms, and increasing sea levels.

It should be remembered that fossil fuel power plants not only add to carbon emissions by the continual fuel burning, but also result in a lot of carbon emissions during construction including the production of the materials used.

Tidal power involves a lot of construction materials, but once built it involves no significant ongoing carbon emissions.

Remember also that imported fossil fuels have an even worse environmental impact than similar UK produced fuels, due to the fuel used in building and operating transport facilities and the increased opportunities for leaks and losses.
Well we will disagree then. My view is that habitat loss is not acceptable, neither is increased use of fossil fuels to provide power for what is effectively an out of control human population. There has been decline of MANY species over the last few decades involving loss of 90% and greater. How much more loss are you going to find acceptable before you wake up and say we’ve got to change direction?
Last edited by woodburner on Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by adam2 »

I think that we need to change direction TOWARDS more renewables and AWAY from fossil fuels.
I also consider that we need to reduce total energy use, and I do what I can by not flying or driving, for example.
I also believe that humans are too numerous, and at least I have not added to the problem as I have no kids.
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