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25 Mar 2009 05:03:03

North-west tidal barrages could power half the region



North-west tidal barrages could power half the region
Tidal barrages in the north-west could generate enough electricity to meet five per cent of the UK's demand, scientists at the University of Liverpool have claimed.

A study in conjunction with the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory found that just four estuary barrages could produce half the electricity needed by the north-west.

Funded by the Norwest Regional Development Agency, the study found that the most cost efficient way of generating electricity from the tides was 'ebb generation'.

This process involves collecting water as the tide rises and releasing it through turbines once the tide is out.

Professor Richard Burrows said: "The best places to harness tidal power at meaningful scales are areas with a high tidal range such as estuaries.

"Tidal barrages would alter the natural motion of an estuary’s flow as the sea level changes, usually by holding back the water at high tide and then releasing it when the tide has subsided. This water level difference across the barrage is sufficient to power turbines for up to 11 hours a day."

According to advocates of a barrage across the Severn estuary, it alone could provide five per cent of the UK's annual electricity demands.

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