The Anonymous Widower

Peter Hain Resigns to Back Severn Barrage

Peter Hain has resigned from the Shadow Cabinet to back the Severn Barrage according to this report on the BBC.

I have always been in favour of the barrage ever since I worked for Frederick Snow and Partners in the early 1970. In fact, I had a letter published in The Times in 2008 on the subject, under the headline,  The Severn Barrage Needs Bolder Plans. It is reproduced here with some comments.

Time has moved on and we now have electrification of the train to Wales on the political and engineering agendas.  We also have an airport capacity crisis in London.

Electrification to Wales has one major problem; the Severn Tunnel. Building the barrage would solve that, albeit at quite a cost. In the meantime, I’m sure that some solution could be found like using the dreaded bi-mode  version of the IEP trains that everybody in the Rail Industry seems to hate. The barage would provide an effective bypass to allow electric trains all the way from London to West Wales.

Fredrick Snow’s original plans always envisaged a high and low lake, split by a central spine. This could work in either two modes.

  1. Energy generation, where water ran from the high to low lakes through reversible turbines, which can both gnerate power or pump water.
  2. Energy storage, where the turbines are reversed to pump water from the low to the high lake.

Th energy strorage technique is known as pumped storage and the biggest such station in the United Kingdom is Dinorwig.

Some reputable authorities reckon that pumped storage is an effective way to store excess electricity generated by wind power or large nuclear stations.


May 14, 2012 - Posted by | News | , , , ,

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