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Event Organiser: ICE

Tidal energy from the Severn Estuary, London

  • Lecture
  • London
  • 19 February 2018
  • 18:00 - 20:30
Tidal energy from the Severn Estuary, London

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The Severn estuary in Britain has the second highest tidal range in the world and tidal power in the Severn could produce a total of about 7% of the country’s energy needs. The lecture will consider the viability of tidal stream and tidal range.

The most successful tidal range scheme currently operating is the La Rance scheme in Brittany, France, which has operated for 50 years and now produces the cheapest electricity in Europe. Experience from that will be described. Tidal range schemes in the Severn estuary can be either barrages or lagoons and the main schemes will be identified. These will include the pathfinder Swansea Bay lagoon and an updated Severn barrage.

Each scheme would have different impacts on the environment and most would involve the Habitats and Birds Directives. In recent years turbine development has meant there would be less change in basin water level and hence less impact on the environment.


18:00 Registration and refreshments
18:30 Welcome from the Chair
18:35 Main lecture
19:15 Questions and answers session 
19:35 Summation from the Chair
19:40 Drinks reception
20:30 Finish


Chris Binnie

Chris Binnie

Chris Binnie is a fourth generation water engineer. After graduating from Cambridge University he took the dam design and hydro power courses at Imperial College. In the 1970s he worked for Binnie & Partners as Project Engineer on the 1,600 MW Dinorwic pumped storage scheme in Snowdonia. For 15 years he was the Director of the Water Consultancy division of WSAtkins, then becoming a Main Board Director. In the 1980s he was on the Management Board of the Severn Tidal Power Group. From 2008-2010 he chaired the DECC Independent Technical & Engineering Expert Panel for the Severn Tidal Power Studies. Since then he was on the Advisory Board for the tidal energy studies of the Mersey and the Wyre barrages. In 2016 he was a consultant to itp providing technical support to the Hendry Review of the future of tidal power from lagoons, currently awaiting government response. He was President of the Chartered Institution of Water & Environmental Management in its centenary year. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering for 20 years and of the Institution of Civil Engineers for longer. He is currently a Visiting Professor at Exeter University.

Bill Nuttall

Prof WJ Nuttall, Chair

Bill Nuttall is Professor of Energy at The Open University based in Milton Keynes, UK. Much of his work has focussed on technology and policy issues of energy and he has extensive experience of matters relating to civil nuclear energy.

Professor Nuttall’s career started in experimental physics and this technical background informs his interest in energy and technology issues. Reflecting his physics background, he maintains an active interest in applied complexity science, including spatial agent-based simulation, particularly of energy-related problems. Nuttall’s research techniques have also included system dynamics especially as applied to problems in energy-related resource depletion

Prof Nuttall is Chair of the ICE Energy Journal Editorial Panel and a Fellow of Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge.

Event venue

Institution of Civil Engineers
One Great George Street
London SW1P 3AA
United Kingdom

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