Peter Hain: Time Government realised 'immense' potential of barrage
FORMER Welsh Secretary Peter Hain has called on the UK Government to recognise the potential of the Severn Barrage — as Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said the UK must "raise its game" if it is to capitalise on marine energy.
A multi-billion pound barrage across the Severn estuary, backed by Mr Hain, could generate a huge economic boost for South East Wales, it is claimed.
Consortium Corlan Hafren wants to harness tidal power between South Wales and Weston-super-Mare to create electricity.
Earlier this year Mr Hain, who is the Labour MP for Neath, quit as shadow Welsh Secretary to back the bid.
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Speaking about the potential of the project, Mr Hain said: "There is immense potential from wave and tidal energy with the Severn Barrage hugely important and so big it puts all other projects in the shade."
Mr Hain made the claim as Mr Barker admitted the UK must had to raise its game if it was to take advantage of the opportunities offered by marine energy.
Writing for the blog, Conservative Home, the Minister said Labour's over reliance on onshore wind during its years in power had put other green technologies in the shade.
"As a result, marine power still has some way to go before it can be rolled out cost effectively at commercial scale," he said.
"However, unless we make a start now and raise our game, commercial deployment will always be ten years away.
"I am determined to take the opportunity of being part of a reforming administration to act for the long term."
The Minister added: "Our investment and support for Marine Energy today may only really start to reap big dividends in the 2020s but when they come they could be huge.
"Energy from the waves or tides has the potential to generate up to 27GW of power in the UK alone by 2050, equivalent to the power generated from eight large coal fired power stations.
"Unlike the wind, few things are more predictable than the tides!"
As part of the Government's Banding Review for the Renewable Obligation (ROC) scheme, which determines subsidies for green technologies, support for tidal stream and wave energy was more than doubled.