Mo Kelly, a Lancaster-based architect, advocates support for tidal power

Last year at Yearly Meeting Gathering in Bath, Quakers were informed that Britain Yearly Meeting had ‘divested from fossil fuels’.

This year, during a session presenting the work of Yearly Meeting trustees, the question of investment was raised: how to spend our money and where to place our investments. Mo Kelly spoke briefly from the floor and recalled the decision by Friends to say ‘No’ to fossil fuels. She then invited Friends, when considering where to place their investments, to consider saying ‘Yes’ to a source of renewable energy which, although in its infancy, is gaining momentum and publicity in the UK. She referred to a source of homegrown, predictable and legacy-free energy about which Lockheed Martin, perhaps better known for its connection with the arms industry, placed a full-page full-colour advert in a national newspaper on Monday 9 March 2015.

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The advert showed a page depicting the sea with a cityscape on the horizon. The words printed across the sea were: ‘The power plant of the future – covers seventy-one per cent of the planet.’

She is currently working with the director of Lancaster University’s Renewable Energy Group, George Aggidis, and has learned that over the past four years there has been a quickening of interest from the commercial sector in the financial viability of tidal energy.

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Lockheed Martin’s recent advert would appear to bear this out. She also learned that Britain’s tidal range is the second highest in the world, that we have the potential and developing technology to harness the energy of the tides, and that the commercial sector in 2015 is seeing the potential in the clean, predictable, long-term energy source around our shores.

swansea bay lagoon

Mo Kelly understands that two major tidal energy projects are expected to commence construction in 2015 and, if they do, will be delivering energy into the National Grid within the next three to four years. One is at Caithness, off the north east coast of Scotland, and the other is an offshore tidal lagoon, with an expected energy production life of 120 years, providing power for 120,000 homes for 120 years, to be located at Swansea Bay in South Wales. It is expected that construction at the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project (simulation above) will provide employment for some 1,900 people – with further jobs generated by recreation, tourism, sailing and cycling, use of the lagoon and its enclosing walls on completion.

The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will provide a dual function: it will generate energy and provide a resource to hold floodwater in the event of inland flooding. Both these features would be hugely significant if placed around our coastline where onshore flooding is likely and where the present ageing ‘fleet’ of nuclear AGR [advanced gas-cooled reactors] reactors are located. Flood protection and rising sea levels are of concern to EDF Energy. They have responsibility for the safe running, management and subsequent hundred-year programme of decommissioning these AGR reactors.

In 2014 the Society of Friends said ‘No’ to fossil fuels. Mo Kelly invites them to say ‘Yes’ to tidal energy in 2015: to live faithfully, encourage debate, and to place their money behind a new source of energy that has the potential to promote research, bring jobs and to establish the UK as a world leader in the field of clean, long-term, predictable, indigenous tidal energy.

For further information: www.tidallagoonswanseabay.com

This post is based on an article in the Friend, 29 May 2015

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COMMENT

By email from Leyland, Lancs:

Lancaster University have a good site right on their doorstep in Morecambe bay. As well as providing power it would create a short cut to Barrow & the lakes saving many miles of travel producing exhaust fumes, consuming petrol & diesel and possibly make a harbour for yachts etc which would bring much needed money and regenerate the area.

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