Marine renewable energy is playing an increasing significant role in many parts of the world, mainly due to a rise in the awareness of climate change, and its detrimental effects, and the increasing cost of natural resources. The Severn Estuary, located between South West England and South Wales, has a tidal range of up to 14 m which makes it the second highest tidal range in the world. There are a number of barrage proposals amongst various marine renewable energy schemes proposed to be built in the estuary. The Cardiff-Weston STPG (Severn Tidal Power Group) Barrage, which would be one of the world׳s largest tidal renewable energy schemes if built, is one of the most publicised schemes to-date. This barrage would generate about 17 TWh/annum of power, which is approximately 5% of the UK׳s electricity consumption, whilst causing significant hydro-environmental and ecological impact on the estuary.
This study mainly focuses on investigating the hydro-environmental impacts of the STPG barrage for the option of two-way generation, and compares this with the commonly investigated option of ebb-only generation. The impacts of the barrage were modelled by implementing a linked 1-D/2-D hydro-environmental model, with the capability of modelling several key environmental processes. The model predictions show that the hydro-environmental impacts of the barrage on the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel, such as changes in the maximum velocity and reduction in suspended sediment and bacteria levels, were less significant for the two-way generation scheme when compared with the corresponding impacts for ebb-only generation.