Interview with Peter Kydd

Published on April 19, 2013 in 2013 Conference Reports, Energy, Video

After his talk at the conference, Peter Kydd was interivewed by RSPB’s Mark Robins.

Just how big the energy prize is in the Severn?

“The ultimate prize in the Severn is upwards of sixteen to twenty terawatt hours a year; how much of that can be exploited is is really the key question because I think it’s important that the realistic assumption about energy from the Severn need to be those which are unconstrained.”

You’ve been thinking a lot about how we might do that exploitation in the way that kind of unlocks opportunity for the industry, unlocks the opportunity for other stakeholders to engage. Say something about that.

“Yes, we’ve been looking at a more incremental approach so that you sustain an energy industry on the Severn over multiple projects, starting at a fairly small scale but still big in energy terms. So six hundred megawatts producing 1.2 terawatts hours per year for example. Learning from the experience of operating that, that then informs the the subsequent larger scheme which might be a larger lagoon, or it might be a tidal fence; it also allows time for the development of more innovative technologies which we all know take time, but you could see a picture of the Severn say in forty or fifty years time, of a number of different projects, different technologies, really bringing and delivering that sort of fifteen to twenty terawatt hours a year of electricity production from the Severn.”

Did I hear you say the kind of proposition for the stepping stones project would be the largest tidal lagoon in the world?
“Yes, the very first one that we’re proposing although there’s also Swansea Bay which is 250 mega watts, but if you started, let’s say Swansea Bay started and you did stepping stones at six hundred megawatts, stepping stones would be the largest tidal energy plant in the world.
It would be a great symbolic value value to the UK to have a tidal power scheme of that size in the estuary knowing that there is further potential to develop other lagoons and tidal fences and tidal stream arrays in that estuary.”

The marine energy technology communities on the industrial side is ready for this?
“Yes, we had a meeting with industry a couple of weeks ago drawn from all sectors of the tidal power industry, and they certainly saw great value in a more incremental approach. I think the industry has all seen the fact that we do numerous studies on the very large barrage schemes, but nothing ever gets built, because the challenges of doing a very large project like a barrage which placades an estuary you know, is problematic. It’s problematic
from a fish perspective, It’s problematic from a navigation perspective and also doing something so large as a first step means that we do not give ourselves an opportunity to learn from the experience of developing tidal power schemes. So there is much more merit we feel and then the industry group that we got together agreed with this that have much more merit in in starting off with some smaller schemes and then building using that evidence for the evidence base that they create, and forming subsequent designs and building larger lagoons and tidal fences thereafter.”

So, if we get this right, the next step is really exciting for the Severn Estuary for renewable energy for industry and for jobs?
“Yes, absolutely and most importantly of all, all of this needs to be done in tune with the environment, in tune with the environmental interests, in tune with the commercial interests of the Severn.
So really what we are trying to do is to deliver a potential solution, that all stakeholders interests are aligned and the chance then of something being done is very much greater.”