Conference on Renewables Potential of Severn Estuary to Be Held Tomorrow (UK)

Conference on Renewables Potential of Severn Estuary to Be Held Tomorrow (UK)

Looking forward and creating innovative and sustainable solutions are needed to harness the power of the Severn Estuary to create renewable energy.

Finding such exciting solutions which will benefit the economy on both sides of the Severn will be the focus of a conference for engineers, economists, local government officials and conservationists at the University of the West of England, Bristol this Thursday [18 April]. The conference has been organised by the renewable energy agency Regen South West, The Bristol Port Company and the RSPB.

The estuary is well known for its potential to provide clean power, but experts for the organising partnership claim that barrage proposals to date have not balanced economic and environmental needs.

Katie-jo Luxton, Director of RSPB Cymru said: “Over the years we have seen numerous barrage proposals for harnessing the power of the Severn. They have failed because they have not taken into account the natural value of the estuary, and they have not proven themselves economically.

“This needs to change because we absolutely need the clean power the estuary can provide. Now is the time to kick-start a better approach.”

The organisers believe that change will be brought about by all interested parties coming together to develop a joint approach and new ways of working based on mutual understanding.  They also believe that innovation is the key.

Johnny Gowdy, spokesperson for Regen South West said: “There is a growing body of opinion that believes that it is possible to balance the UK’s pressing need for energy with  environmental protection by deploying an innovative mix of technologies in the Bristol Channel.

“We already have a number of cutting edge companies in the UK working on tidal technologies and other marine energy solutions which, if deployed intelligently, could generate the energy we need while managing the environmental impact and creating thousands of sustainable jobs. Get this right and we could set a new standard for energy infrastructure projects around the world.”

Sue Turner from The Bristol Port Company said: “Successful businesses around the Severn have been shown to have a massive economic impact for England and Wales.  By looking after our precious environment and focusing on long term jobs – not just construction jobs that suck in transient workers – we can protect the environment and jobs we already have and install a variety of technologies to generate energy from the Severn.

“We hope this conference will mark a step change in the willingness of all parties to do the right thing for the environment and do the right thing for jobs for the long term.”

Speakers at the conference are  James Cameron (Climate Change Capital), Juliet Davenport (Good Energy), Mike Clarke (CEO, RSPB), Peter Kydd (Director of Strategic Consulting at Parsons Brinckerhoff), Calvin Jones (Professor of Economics and Associate Dean at Cardiff Business School) and Matthew Quinn (Director, Environment and Sustainability, Welsh Assembly).

Tom Appleby, a senior lecturer in the University of the West of England’s Faculty of the Environment and Technology said: “UWE is pleased to host this event and bring together the sort of interdisciplinary group needed to unlock the potential of the Severn.”


Press release, April 17, 2013; Image: tidalenergy