The companies span engineering, construction, project management and logistics and the development will be the biggest British infrastructure project since the Channel Tunnel.
Arup, Bechtel, DHL, Mott MacDonald and URS are currently assessing the delivery model on the £25 billion, 18 kilometre (11 mile) project in order to manage the consent and environmental approval processes on what is expected to be a nine-year build.
“Government has an open mind on our proposal and we are working hard to provide further details of construction, environmental and business impacts and mitigation” said Tony Pryor, Chief Executive of Hafren Power. “These companies have successful track records in delivering large infrastructure projects and are bringing considerable expertise and momentum to the process. As part of the energy mix, tidal power is greatly under-utilised. As a sustainable energy source the Severn estuary barrage will help the UK meet its renewable energy requirements. The engineering could also become the standard for schemes elsewhere in the world.”
The proposed barrage will stretch between Brean in England and Lavernock Point in Wales generating power on the ebb and flood of the second largest tidal range in the world at 14 metres. The energy source will be capable of meeting some 5 percent of the UK’s annual electricity needs and its 1,026 turbines will generate 6.5GW thereby making it one of the biggest power stations in the world. The barrage will have a minimum lifespan of 120 years – far longer than any coal, gas or nuclear power station – and will probably operate for much longer than this. The whole-life cost of the project is expected to be lower than any known renewable or fossil fuel source.
Government approval is needed for the proposal before it can go ahead, together with an agreement to support the electricity price in the first 30 years in line with the consumer support granted to other low carbon energy generators. 80 percent of the investment will come from UK sources and the project will employ at least 20,000 workers in construction including concrete and steel jobs in South Welaes and turbine manufacture and maintenance roles divided between Bristol and South Wales over the course of the nine year build. Indirectly, the project is expected to create far more jobs while promoting Britain as a tidal technology leader able to export its expertise.