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Tidal power at the Severn Estuary could provide the UK with up to five per cent of its annual electricity needs and government is looking to develop a variety of schemes to harness it.

Meanwhile, energy and climate change minister Mike O'Brien has launched a £500,000 fund for energy companies, which they can use to develop proposals shortlisted for the venture.

He said: "This funding will help us understand the potential of these emerging ideas and whether, and how long, we would have to wait for them to come to fruition."

He claimed that the Severn Estuary has massive potential.

"As well as this shortlist, I am keen to keep innovative options on the table," he added.

Five schemes were picked from a total of 400 responses in January of this year.

However, environmental campaigners claim the government's selection favours large developments that may have an adverse impact on the regions wildlife and biodiversity.

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