May 07, 2008

Black & Veatch Appointed to Severn Estuary Tidal Power Consortium

Consortium to manage major tidal power generation studies for UK government

Black & Veatch has been appointed as part of a consortium led by Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and related engineering studies for tidal power generation in the Severn Estuary.

The two-year study, for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), is a major part of the Severn Tidal Power Feasibility Study announced by UK Secretary of State John Hutton in January.

The tidal energy resource in the Severn Estuary provides the largest potential of all the UK’s estuaries for renewable electricity generation. Previous studies indicate that as much as 5% of the UK’s electricity demand could be met by harnessing the huge tidal range of the estuary.

Matthew Nott, managing director for Black & Veatch’s UK Government & Industry business, explained, “As with any sustainable renewable energy project, it is vital to balance the benefits of achieving reduced carbon emissions against the potential environmental impacts of the project itself. This will be a major aspect of the SEA and will include an early review of potential environmental mitigation measures. We will be working closely throughout with all interested parties including key stakeholders and the public.”

The consortium is led by Project Director Peter Kydd, director of planning & environment at PB, with Matthew Nott of Black & Veatch serving as deputy project director. Black & Veatch and PB are supported by a number of specialist organizations with expertise in environmental science, stakeholder engagement and cost consultancy.

The study will call for new evidence and review available evidence to assess the impacts, costs and benefits of options for power generation using tidal range technologies, such as barrages and lagoons, to enable the UK government to determine whether it could support such a scheme.

“One of our first actions will be to issue a Call for Proposals and a Call for Evidence on the environmental and other impacts of any tidal range scheme in the Severn Estuary. We will also be assisting BERR in setting up a steering group and expert panels to provide independent advice and act as a peer review,” Kydd said.

Nott added, “The Severn Estuary is of national, European and international nature conservation significance. Before any scheme could proceed, we must make sure we understand the environmental impacts and can adequately mitigate or compensate them.”