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Talking points: No to Severn Barrage scheme but possible Welsh energy hopes as Wylfa makes nuclear site list

Two potential energy projects – two very different stories. Today Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said the government would drop plans for a Severn Barrage tidal scheme because of its prohibitive costs.

A move described as “equally disastrous” for the economy and the environment by Shadow Welsh Secretary Peter Hain.

Mr. Huhne rejected the plans today following the publication of The Severn Tidal Power feasibility study conclusions found there was no strategic case for major public sector investment in a large-scale energy project in the Severn estuary at this time.

Commenting on the decision he said, “Other low-carbon options represent a better deal for taxpayers and consumers.”

“However, with a rich natural marine energy resource, world leading tidal energy companies and universities, and the creation of the innovative Wave Hub facility, the area can play a key role in supporting the UK’s renewable energy future.”

Though the report and today’s announcement do leave some wriggle room for potential tidal power development on the river Severn as ITV Wales’ Nick Powell comments.

Thanking the authors of the report today Welsh environment minister Jane Davidson also urged the UK government and other business partners to work with the Welsh Assembly Government to help develop new technologies to take advantage of Welsh energy resources.

“Wales has a tremendous marine energy resource and we remain committed to exploiting that potential through the deployment of both wave and tidal technologies,”

“The sustainable exploitation of this resource will play a vital role in moving us towards achieving our climate change goals and those of the UK,”

But it was different news for north Wales as Wylfa made the shortlist of eight suitable UK sites for possible nuclear plants from 2025.

The Energy Secretary said the UK urgently needed “new and diverse energy sources” and that the stand-off between nuclear power and other renewable energy resources had to end.

“Today we are setting out our energy need which will help guide the planning process, so that if sound proposals come forward in sensible places, they will not face unnecessary hold-ups.

“And I am making clear that new nuclear will be free to contribute as much as possible with the onus on developers to pay for the clean-up”

Last week, the life of the current plant – which had been due to stop production later this year – was extended until 2012.

We’d like to hear your opinions on today’s energy announcements – how would you manage the future energy needs of Wales and the UK? Join the conversation on our blog or our fan page facebook.com/itvwalesnews or email us news@itvwales.com with your comments.

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