The Severn Barrage and other tidal energy options: Hydrodynamic and power output modeling


Details are given herein of the current main proposals for tidal energy provision from the Severn Estuary, in the UK, with particular emphasis being focused on the Severn Barrage project, as originally promoted by the Severn Tidal Power Group. In particular, emphasis has focused on assessing the potential hydro-environmental impacts and power outputs of a barrage across the estuary, with an unstructured grid, high resolution, model being developed and applied to the estuary to assess the implications of each of five shortlisted proposed schemes on the hydrodynamic, geomorphologic, flood risk and faecal indicator organism changes within the estuary. An outline is given of recent research on power refinements to the model to assess the options for power generation. The results show that the Severn Barrage has the potential to reduce the tidal currents in a highly dynamic estuary. This leads to the reduction of suspended sediment loads (particularly upstream of the barrage), an increase of light penetration within the water column and, potentially, an increase in the benthic bio-diversity and the level of aquatic life in the estuary. The results also show that the Severn Barrage will reduce markedly the risk of flooding upstream of the barrage and to a lesser extent downstream of the structure. In contrast the alternative options have far less impact on flood risk changes. In addition to the Severn Barrage some results are shown herein for a typical lagoon option, namely the Fleming Lagoon.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Roger A. Falconer.

Additional information

Supported by the Flood Risk Management Research Consortium (Phase II), the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (GR/S76304) and the Welsh Assembly Government European Regional Development Fund, Project HE09

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Falconer, R.A., Xia, J., Lin, B. et al. The Severn Barrage and other tidal energy options: Hydrodynamic and power output modeling. Sci. China Ser. E-Technol. Sci. 52, 3413–3424 (2009).

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  • marine renewable energy
  • Severn Estuary
  • hydrodynamic processes
  • tidal power
  • finite volume models