Severn Tidal Power Project Forum
The Forum is organising a seminar for Researchers. See below
The seminar will explore issues surrounding the potential severn tidal power projects currently being assessed by DECC.
In addition to directly discussing the DECC Tidal power options, the below programme should provide an opportunity to explore similar underlying issues in related projects.
8:45 - 9:00 am - Registration
- Severn Tidal Power Research - Prof. Roger Falconer, Cardiff University
- Multi-disciplinary Tidal Power study - Dr Miles Willis, Swansea University
- Experience of Habitat Compensation - Dr Richard Cowell, Cardiff University
- A review of 'A Barrage of Questions' documentary - Forum Research Students
- General Discussion - Panel of Speakers
12 pm - Depart for group tour of Cardiff Bay Barrage Installation - Roger Thorney, Cardiff Harbour Authority
1.30 pm - Lunch at the Custom House, Penarth
Note : Student Researchers attending will be entitled to a discounted price lunch at the 'Custom House' Tavern after the seminar at 1.30pm.
Energy and Environment - Role of the media II
"That's not to say that I haven't read press articles in England and Wales about how the barrage might increase flood events and so damage human-valued structures or activities (especially in the Somerset Levels) [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/4898514.stm; http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_east/4927744.stm] as well as drown legally-protected reserves (such framings appear in the press largely on the back of the RSPB's well-funded PR efforts, e.g. http://www.rspb.org.uk/news/details.asp?id=tcm:9-171364; http://www.rspb.org.uk/news/details.asp?id=tcm:9-181048; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/wavepower/3515086/Severn-Barrage-should-be-scrapped-in-favour-of-tidal-reef---RSPB.html; http://www.newswales.co.uk/?section=Environment&F=1&id=14781). These stories may or may not be that amplified in terms of the real risk to the environmnet. Unfortunately, it's hard to tell until construction is under way.
"Such debates are unlikely to be framed in detail by cash-starved local/regional tabloid news and television outlets which tend to frame their narratives around tangible human interest (Dahlgren & Sparks, 1993) [http://www.routledge.com/0415100674]. Climate change, although dreaded by some, falls outside of the uber-emotive category of reporting and concern because of its perceived remoteness.
"So the Ben Goldacres out there do well to encourage journalists to improve their game (Private Eye, for example, also does well on attacking poor science coverage). His frustration, however, should not be borne out of journalists' and their audiences' inabilities to understand/frame difficult issues - good journalism can do this well on almost any topic. It should come, in part, from the ever-declining funds that are available for producing local/regional press and television news. Many editors today can only afford for their staff to recycle corporate press releases. Expensive investigative work is only realy done now by a handful of typically national outfits like the Guardian and the BBC.
"So, at times, Goldacre's work might appear to be a bit of a Canute-like effort where, in truth, financial structures are largely preventing some very good science journalism from being produced.
Energy and Environment - The role of the media
In the first few months of the University forum I have discovered quite a lot about the Severn Tidal Project. One of them is that it's a subject thats being going on for a long time, and there's a lot of people who have a long term interest in it, from a variety of different backgrounds. For me it encompasses in a single project many crucial interelated areas in trying to address the challenge of tackling the global problem of climate change whilst trying to maintain our first world lifestyles, for which we owe a great deal to our easy access to energy. Additionally it would be nice to think that, even though it's a local project, out of the process, it could shed light on sustainable development beyond our own lives and not just for ourselves.
As with any long-term project, I guess there is a frenzy of activity around public events and press releases of reports and so the Department of Energy and Climate Change ( DECC) two month consultation which ended in April is no exception. This Forum has been using the consultation document as an anchor for our discussions. Having a good look at this document and having to introduce it at one of our forum meetings has made me think that the role of the consultation has been misrepresented in the press.
Ah this is nothing new you say!
From the view of somebody who is engaged in research related to the problem of provision of the planned future low-carbon energy supply, I can only see poor/innacurate media portrayal as another hurdle added to the already huge one presented.
Anyhow back to the point. Here's the article in question http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/may/08/severn-estuary-tidal-scheme , and my niggle with it, is the 3rd paragraph
"in the process rejecting the possibility of a tidal reef scheme deemed to be less ecologically damaging by the groups."
Now, after having read the DECC consultation, as far as I can see nothing has been rejected yet as the shortlist put forward is a 'proposed one', of which it's constituent schemes may change subject to the consulatation, this being partly the purpose of the consultation. Is this a big deal? Maybe, maybe not, but it seems to have filtered through to the public that a decision on a shortlist has already been made. This was an impression I got from attending the Cardiff Consultation forum on Wednesday 8th April this year. A reef scheme might be the best but, rather than enabling constructive input, this mildy innacurate story contributes to fuelling conflicting views.
Maybe I'm being picky but this is something I have seen elsewhere too. E.g this one by the Liberal Democrats http://welshlibdems.org.uk/documents/files/A%20Tidal%20Solution%20-%20The%20Way%20Forward.pdf
I must admit to being a bit of a Guardian reading Lib Dem type person. So I do find it a bit odd making this critism. All I can say is don't believe everthing you read or hear as there seems to be a deficit of good progressive reporting in the general area of energy and environment. Anyhow if you've been interested enough to get to the end of this post and would like to learn a bit more about the general problem of future energy supply, read the 4-page executive summary to this UKERC Energy 2050 Report
I have been wanting to write this post for quite a while and received a really interesting email recently from a student researcher who came along to the forum. After the subject came up in the last forum meeting, I sent him a link to this article on media quality by a Science Journalist called Ben Goldacre.
Hopefully he'll post a comment on it below ;)
Public Forum Report - Cardiff Wed 8th April 2009
Organised by RSA Wales & Western Region and others, this Public Forum aimed to provide a neutral space for members of the public to consider the evidence and to develop their own informed opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of various options which the Department of Energy and Climate Change is examining to exploit the tidal energy of the Severn Estuary. The Public Forum coincided with the Severn Tidal Power Phase One Consultation undertaken by DECC which finished 23rd April. Full report on the event - Severn_Barrage_or_What_Cardiff_Public_Forum_Report.doc
Organised by RSA Wales & Western Region and others, this Public Forum aimed to provide a neutral space for members of the public to consider the evidence and to develop their own informed opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of various options which the Department of Energy and Climate Change is examining to exploit the tidal energy of the Severn Estuary. The Public Forum coincided with the Severn Tidal Power Phase One Consultation undertaken by DECC which finished 23rd April.
Full report on the event - Severn_Barrage_or_What_Cardiff_Public_Forum_Report.doc
Reports and Consultations - Some useful links
Below are key reports which contain lots of information on the project and the consulation so far.
Department of Energy and Climate Change phase 1 consultation
http://severntidalpowerconsultation.decc.gov.uk/consultation/consultation_summary - Phase 1 consultation(mainbody is first 80 pages).
http://severntidalpowerconsultation.decc.gov.uk/supporting_documents. - Supporting documents
http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/pages/tidal-power.html - Sustainable Development Commission report
http://www.uwe.ac.uk/ishe/newsevents/renewable_energy_severn.shtml. - Public consultation held on 7th March 2009 in Bristol
http://www.withouthotair.com/. - Free on-line book which gives an excellent overview of the challenge of sustainable energy
What's the Forum about?
Harnessing the vast natural tidal resource of the Severn Estuary as proposed by the Severn Tidal Power Project could help us meet the challenge of climate change whilst taking steps to secure our energy supply. However, this would be a major undertaking and careful consideration of the benefits, consequences, risks and costs is required.
The aim of the forum is to bring together postgraduate researchers who may be working in a wide range of research disciplines including engineering, planning, law, socio-economics and environmental science to share their expertise and discuss technical information and ideas regarding the proposal. This will facilitate collaboration between Schools and the development of skills required for working on such large, multi-disciplinary infrastructure projects.
The first events will be sub- and cross- school workshops providing the opportunity to discuss some of the questions raised by the proposal, such as those outlined in the Phase 1 Consultation (document available at http://severntidalpowerconsultation.decc.gov.uk/consultation/consultation_summary). This outlines the potential schemes, identifies key issues and summarises the process by which the Government will decide whether to support a Severn Tidal Power project. Researchers are also invited to give short presentations on related research topics. Drinks and refreshments will be available at all events. Cross-school events will be held on the following dates
• Friday 12th June 3pm (venue tbc)
• Friday 4th September 3pm (venue tbc)
Further details, including information about sub-School events, will be added shortly and will also be posted on the Forum blog at…
These workshops will be followed by a boat trip in early September to view potential sites on the Severn Estuary and consider their environmental impacts. A final half-day conference will be held in early October including guest speakers’ presentations to generate critical debate. It is hoped that outcomes from the workshops along with conclusions from the final conference will be fed into the second public consultation in 2010.
Events are free (with the exception of the boat trip), and drinks and refreshments will be provided with a buffet at the final conference. If you are interested or wish to find out more please contact Ian Moore. Email : MooreIF at cardiff dot ac dot uk. Phone : xt 75746. University staff and students can login to the forum WIKI here
Hello and welcome to the Severn Tidal forum Blog. In a nutshell the purpose of the forum is to disucss al things to do with the proposed Tidal Power scheme on the Severn Estuary.
The first meeting for postgraduates and researchers from the School of engineering is Friday 15th May, Rm S.4.10, Queens Buildings, Newport Road. Topics for discussion include
- tidal power chapter from 'David Mackay's - without the hot air' book
- barrage 1 way verses 2 way flow generation.