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Sunday, 9 February, 2003, 16:24 GMT
Plan for electricity from tidal flow
Artist's impression of what the tidal electricity generator might look like
Plans are underway to build giant underwater electricity generators in the Severn Estuary.

West Wales engineer Richard Ayre will build five tidal generators and drop them between the two Severn bridges.

They will sit on the sea bed and produce enough electricity to power hundreds of homes.

A graphics impression of the north Wales offshore windfarm scheme
Wind energy is to be a major renewable source

The 1.6m scheme is part of multi-million pound project looking at developing renewable energy.

Mr Ayre has already tested the generator at a waterway in Milford Haven where it is currently powering a local boatyard.

The Government has now given him a grant to research tidal power.

The five test generators will use giant propellers that are fixed on the sea bed and turned by the passing tide in the estuary which has one of the highest tidal flows in the world.

The scheme, which should be in place by the summer, has the backing of environmentalists because it will not adversely affect the tides or wildlife.

Windfarms

If it proved effective, it could be taken up in areas around the world with a fast tidal flow.

The government is keen on all forms of sustainable energy - it is aiming to generate 10% of the UK's energy needs using renewable energy sources such as the wind and tides by 2010.

Wales is set to see an expansion in renewable projects over the next few years, the majority of them windfarms.

The big expansion will be in off-shore windfarms.

There are three projects in the pipeline, with two of them off the north Wales coast already approved.

Opposition

At Rhyl Flats, a 30-turbine scheme which will provide electricity to power 50,000 homes in Denbighshire was given the go-ahead in December.

It followed approval in October of a windfarm at North Hoyle off the coast at Prestatyn.

But a proposed 30-turbine development at Scarweather Sands near Porthcawl in south Wales has provoked opposition among local residents.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales' Roger Pinney
"Love them or loathe them, Wales is going to have more windfarms."
See also:

21 Jan 03 | Wales
26 Dec 02 | Wales
23 May 02 | Wales
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