One of the schemes investigated was the Cardiff-Weston barrage – this was the largest scheme to be considered. The study concluded that despite its high capital costs (approximately £34 billion), this scheme offered the best value for money. The Government concluded that there was not a strategic case for public investment in tidal energy schemes at that time, but did not preclude a privately financed scheme coming forward.
Recent reports suggest that private financing for this scheme may now be available but only if support is available via the proposed Contracts for Difference mechanism.
Terms of reference
The Committee will investigate the proposed Cardiff-Weston Barrage. It will examine the potential for the project to deliver low-carbon electricity to the UK and the likely cost to consumers as well as the potential impacts on wildlife and local employment. The Committee invites written evidence from interested parties addressing some or all of the following:
- What contribution could the Cardiff-Weston Barrage make to UK energy security and climate change objectives?
- What risks and opportunities could it pose with regard to flooding in the Severn estuary, and how might any risks be mitigated?
- What risks and opportunities could it pose to wildlife and habitat in the Severn estuary, and how might any risks be mitigated?
- What lessons can be learned from the successful development of La Rance tidal barrage in France and other tidal power projects?
- What risks and opportunities could it pose to local employment and community, and how might any risks be mitigated? In particular, what are the consequences for current ports, fishing and aggregate extraction industries in the estuary?
- Would the project require support under the proposed new Contracts for Difference mechanism? If so, approximately what level of strike price would be required to make the project economically viable?
- How does the company plan to engage and consult the community in the development of the project?
- Are the proposals in breach of EU legislation, and if so how will this be addressed?
- Are any other proposals for tidal power projects in the Severn estuary currently under consideration?
- What could be the wider international implications of the scheme for UK engineering and UK low-carbon industry?
The deadline for written evidence is Friday 30 November 2012.
Notes on submission of written evidence
As part of a scheme to encourage paperless working and maximise efficiency, the Committee is piloting a new web portal for online submission of written evidence. Written submissions for this inquiry should therefore be sent via the link at the top of this page.
The deadline is Friday 30 November 2012. As a guideline submissions should be no longer than 3000 words, please contact the Committee staff if you wish to discuss this. If you need to send hard copy please send it to: The Clerk, Energy and Climate Change Committee, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA.
Submissions should be a Word document, in the format of a self-contained memorandum. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document should, if possible, include an executive summary.
Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.
The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or by making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.