UK Prime Minister David Cameron has asked ministers to re-examine a shelved $47bn scheme to build a barrage across the Severn estuary.
The 11 mile long, 6.5 GW barrage scheme, at Lavernock Point near Cardiff, would purportedly generate 5 per cent of the country’s electricity and create 10,000 jobs, reports the Guardian.
The scheme is championed by former Labour shadow minister Peter Hain, who in a letter to Cameron expressed that the new proposal would be entirely funded by investors, but it is vital to secure government support.
The barrage proposal had previously been abandoned by Minister Chris Huhne, as it would have cost the taxpayer too much money, but that aspect has since changed.
Hain told the BBC. “It’s encouraging that Number 10 are taking the barrage much more seriously than has been the case over the last few years. Government support is an absolute pre-requisite for getting the whole project underway. Not a penny of taxpayers’ money would be needed for this £30bn investment, which would be transformative for Wales.”
“Several sovereign wealth funds have already expressed interest in financing the £30bn project, as long as government signals its support in principle, provides authorisation in the form of a Hybrid bill, and stabilises the electricity price for 25-30 years through a feed in tariff ‘Contract for Difference’, or similar mechanism.”
The BBC reported on Sunday that it is anticipated that much of the funding would come from investors in Kuwait and Qatar.
Hain told the Guardian earlier this year that in response to concerns by environmental groups, the new proposal would incorporate “fish friendly” turbines.
A Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) spokesperson said: “The government is open to working with affordable, environmentally-responsible projects that represent good value for consumers. So far, we have only seen a very draft and high-level outline business case from the consortium. Even if this proposal can meet our criteria it has a long way to go in development.”
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