Saturday, April 13, 2024

Plans progress to build UK’s ‘first of a kind’ Mersey Tidal Power

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram has unveiled advanced proposals to build the world’s largest tidal scheme on the banks of the River Mersey.

The Liverpool City Region’s Mayor, Steve Rotheram, has unveiled plans to pursue a barrage between the Wirral and Liverpool as the preferred option for the city region’s flagship Mersey Tidal Power project. The project has the potential to generate clean and predictable energy for 120 years and could create thousands of jobs in its construction and operation.

“Mersey Tidal Power has the potential to generate clean, predictable energy for 120 years, create thousands of green jobs and apprenticeships – and all but seal our area’s status as Britain’s Renewable Energy Coast. Beyond the banks of the River Mersey, this is a national infrastructure asset that could position the UK as a global leader in the renewables race and help to turbocharge our net zero ambitions,” Rotheram said.

“We are under no illusions, we know there are still significant technical and financial challenges to overcome, but the plans we’ve unveiled today mark a huge step on our journey to bringing Mersey Tidal Power to life. Quite simply, the case for tidal has never been clearer – both for our economy and our planet.”

The multi-billion-pound scheme is moving towards the formal planning consent process. This could mean a first-ever cycling and pedestrian route over the river between Liverpool and Wirral and could also help defend against future flooding risks caused by climate change.

The pedestrian and cycling route will not only connect the two regions but also generate electricity through the use of tidal energy. The 28 turbines driven by the flow of water in and out of the Mersey River will certainly make a significant contribution to the total capacity of 700 MW. This could potentially make it the largest tidal range scheme in the world.

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has been working on the technical aspects of the scheme over the last three years, and the scheme could be up and running within a decade. The Mersey Tidal Power project is a key part of a wider push for tidal range projects across the UK, which could help to create greater domestic energy security and support the UK’s push towards net zero carbon by 2040.

“Existing strengths in wind and solar power and emerging strengths in hydrogen mean that our city region is already leading the way in developing a cleaner and greener economy,” said Councillor David Baines, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Net-Zero and Air Quality. “Harnessing the power of the River Mersey to generate green and predictable energy for the next 100 years and more would be an incredible addition to our clean energy mix. We need to ensure we are extremely aware of our sensitive local ecology, but just reaching this stage in the Mersey Tidal Power project has taken a huge amount of hard work allied with vision and would be a big step towards making it a reality.”

A report to the Combined Authority suggested that a barrage option would be a more cost-effective and environmentally sustainable option than a lagoon for the Mersey Tidal Power project. This option would require fewer materials and less government support and could even facilitate a pedestrian and cycle link between Liverpool and Wirral. Furthermore, a barrage could help manage the long-term effects of climate change on Mersey, such as rising sea levels.

To move forward with the project, a scoping opinion submission has been made to the Planning Inspector. This is the first step towards submitting a Development Control Order (DCO) submission, which typically takes two to three years and involves outlining the scheme’s environmental impact through various surveys.

The Mersey Tidal Power project is set to become the largest tidal range scheme in the world, utilizing proven technology for the first time in the UK. The multi-billion-pound project could create thousands of jobs and bring economic and resilience benefits to the Liverpool City Region over its 120-year lifespan.