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Fund for Tidal Power Ideas is Launched

A new £500,000 fund will be launched today to help environmental entrepreneurs and small businesses develop their ideas to generate electricity from the River Severn's tidal power.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Mike O'Brien and Welsh Assembly Government Environment Minister Jane Davidson today announced details of the Severn Embryonic Technologies Scheme to further develop proposals like tidal reefs and fences and other potential ideas.

The fund will open to bidders today, when Ministers meet to discuss it with potential applicants in Bristol.

The tides in the Severn estuary are among the highest in the world and have the potential to deliver some 5% of the UK's electricity from a domestic, low carbon and sustainable source.

A public consultation is underway on a proposed shortlist of schemes to generate clean, green electricity from the power of the tides in the Severn estuary. The shortlist includes a mixture of barrages and lagoon schemes. The Government has made clear it will consider the progress of embryonic technologies before any decisions are taken on whether to support a Severn tidal power scheme.

The £500,000 scheme is being managed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Welsh Assembly Government, Defra, and the South West of England Regional Development Agency.

Energy and Climate Change Minister, Mike O'Brien said:

"This funding will help us understand the potential of these emerging ideas and whether, and how long, we would have to wait for them to come to fruition.

"The Severn estuary has massive potential to help achieve our climate change and renewable energy targets. So far our consultation on a proposed shortlist of five schemes has received over 400 responses.

"As well as this shortlist, I am keen to keep innovative options on the table. That's why we are inviting companies to bid for a share of the funds to accelerate progress."

Welsh Assembly Government Environment, Sustainability and Housing Minister Jane Davidson said:

"I am pleased that the Welsh Assembly Government is working with other government departments to lead the global research on embryonic tidal technologies while making progress with the second phase of the feasibility study into Severn Tidal Power options.

"Our hope is that that some of these new technologies will show promise for harnessing tidal energy with minimal environmental impact, in the Severn Estuary or elsewhere around our coast. The potential benefits could be shared across the world.

"They could help reduce our carbon footprint, improve our energy security and create green jobs. We want to encourage companies involved with marine technology to apply for access to this fund to help demonstrate the potential of innovative technologies."

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