A study is being launched by the North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA), in partnership with an energy provider, into the best option for a potential large-scale tidal energy project on the River Mersey.
A recent pre-feasibility study concluded that with one of the largest tidal ranges in the UK, the Mersey Estuary is one of the best locations for tidal energy, and it is hoped that such a project could provide a significant proportion of the Liverpool city region with renewable electricity, reducing the city’s carbon emissions from energy use.
Further research from engineers at the University of Liverpool claims that along with estuary barrages across the Solway Firth, Morcambe Bay, and the Dee Estuary, the Mersey is capable of meeting half the North West’s electricity needs and 5% of the UK’s energy needs.
Such a project would also come with wider economic and social benefits including improvements to local infrastructure and developing facilities and skills to support the advancement of renewable energy technologies and supply chains.
The study will identify a single preferred tidal power scheme which will deliver maximum affordable energy, taking into consideration environmental impact, shipping, business and the community.
Many of the technologies being evaluated are so new that they are still under development. For this reason, the experts are likely to recommend a pilot project that would allow testing before full implementation.
Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of NWDA, said:
"As one of the region's natural assets, the Mersey Estuary presents a number of options for sustainable energy, providing a further source for renewable energy, as well as making an important contribution towards the government's renewable energy targets by 2020.
"The energy and environmental technologies sector makes a vital contribution to the North West's economy, employing over 50,000 people, while renewable and low carbon energy sources such as wind, tidal, biomass and biofuels are in operation throughout the region.”
Posted under Environmental Technologies and Renewable Energy and Energy and Renewables on 25 September 2009