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The thing about the Severn barrier is that it wrecks an awful lot of ecology including some valuable resources. I believe there are ecologicaly friendly versions but, let's be honest, this is the British govt we're talking about here.

But wouldn't it be a lot cheaper to have a distributed network of small schemes in areas where there's a good hydro-electric resouce ? Lots of streams with good water power in Wales , Scotland and N England. But then we end up with lots of wind resource and then we remember what country this is.

So we're back to nuclear power and the weakness the govt won't admit : It shouldn't be trusted with a lead battery, let alone a nuclear power station.

Rinse and repeat

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 28th, 2008 at 09:40:05 AM EST
It's not so much that the Servern Barrage is The Answer. Big concrete projects only make sense sometimes. It's more that for comparison purposes we could have had An Answer twenty years ago, instead of a massive and open-ended clean-up bill now.

That £73bn is wasted cash. It will not make the UK more sustainable, more fuel efficient, more secure, or nicer to look at when it's raining.

So I think the point is more about starting to apply pressure to the points of weakness - the links between the people who authorise this spending, and the people who benefit from it.

Perhaps a side order of shrieky tabloid ranting wouldn't hurt either, in the right places.

Hardly anyone seems to have noticed the irony of news like this coming out the day after the fuel protests, and Gordo's 'give me more oil or I'll cry' stern exchange of raised eyebrows with the oil boards.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed May 28th, 2008 at 10:03:49 AM EST
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This is possibly a question for Crazy Horse. Is it possible to submerge turbines in the water to take advantage of the strong tidal currents as opposed to damming the Severn estuary? Also, could something similar (submerged turbines without damming) be done in the Thames estuary, which also has large tidal currents?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 28th, 2008 at 10:36:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_power#Tidal_stream_generators

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed May 28th, 2008 at 11:12:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In water, one could also use a vertical axis turbine to avoid having to reorient the nacelle in turbulent water. My reasoning is that the higher density of water may put more strain on the mount point of the nacelle on the base of the turbine.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 28th, 2008 at 11:37:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Windmills" in water do exist

http://www.marineturbines.com/

by Francois in Paris on Wed May 28th, 2008 at 01:18:06 PM EST
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They are doing it in the East River in NYC.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed May 28th, 2008 at 01:44:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is that maintenance under water is a bitch. It's not bankable as of today.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed May 28th, 2008 at 06:28:52 PM EST
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And sea water is corrosive, not to speak of all those barnacles.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 28th, 2008 at 06:35:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
plastic turbines!

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed May 28th, 2008 at 07:36:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or Amory's forged carbon composites shown in the reference provided by Crazy Horse yesterday in the EV diary.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed May 28th, 2008 at 09:27:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]

maintenance under water is a bitch.

As is off-shore oil platform maintenance.  Companies supplying divers for the oil industry could supply divers for these facilities.  Hopefully, the East River Project will provide information on that issue.  It may prove possible to remove-repair-reinstall.  For some aspects tidal estuaries seem worst case, but at least, in this case, they are close to shore.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed May 28th, 2008 at 09:24:53 PM EST
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My understanding of the Severn barrier project is that it is a useless white elephant project that's used as a "green"diversion to get nuclear plants under way.

Wind, both onshore and offshore, works, has a understandable price structure (with a cap on said price, increasingly a luxury these days) and no physical limitation.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed May 28th, 2008 at 06:30:33 PM EST
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Indeed.

The latest proposed version seems to be a 8.6 GW plant, which is supposed to meet 5% of the UK's needs (that would be roughly 20 TWh/year, or a capacity factor of around 25%). A single giant project, 1500 times bigger than the largest wind turbine; but it is not much overall - and not much even with all the other potential estuaries barraged.

The same amount of electricity would be produced by off-shore wind farms with a combined capacity of 5.7 GW, assuming a capacity factor of 40%. The cost to build that with all strings attached, even at today's increased prices is presently around £17 billion I believe (but Jérôme correct me).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu May 29th, 2008 at 08:39:34 AM EST
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