UK Weighs Environmental Costs of Harnessing Tidal Power

The UK government is hoping to achieve part of it's renewable energy production mandate by harnessing the tidal power of its largest river. Opponents say the plan could destroy the river's ecosystem.
November 28, 2009, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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"The UK government wants to tap into the country's great potential for wind, wave, and tidal power. But proposals to harness the River Severn are so far generating mostly controversy.

At 220 miles, the Severn's the UK's longest river. But what attracts clean energy engineers is the tidal action at the river's mouth. Its estuary has the second greatest tidal range in the world. Capturing the energy of that tidal flow could meet five percent of the entire country's electricity needs.

...Critics of the barrage, point to the Bay of Fundy in Canada, the highest tidal range in the World. There, a small barrage caused both silting and coastal erosion. On the other hand, a barrage at La Rance in France has been a reliable source of energy for forty years, without silting."

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Published on Wednesday, November 25, 2009 in Living on Earth
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