Mersey Tidal Power project to take next step forward
Plans to create a Mersey Tidal project to harness energy from the River Mersey or Liverpool Bay are set to progress.
Liverpool City Region Mayor, Steve Rotheram, is backing the scheme and the combined authority will seek to appoint an expert technical advisor and designer to develop the next stage designs for the scheme.
It is estimated that the massive renewable energy project could generate enough clean, predictable energy to power up to one million homes and create thousands of jobs in its construction and operation.
It could be up and running within a decade, playing a huge role in the region’s push to net zero carbon by 2040 – at least a decade ahead of national targets.
Steve Rotheram said: “Given the cost of living crisis we’re seeing from skyrocketing gas prices and the race against the clock we face to save our planet, there has never been a better time to develop and invest in new sources of clean, renewable energy.
“Mersey Tidal Power will be a project of international significance, whose success would have major implications for the global energy market. When up and running, we believe it has the potential to generate enough predictable energy to power one million local homes.”
He added: “But its benefits wouldn’t stop there. It would also create thousands of well paid local jobs and apprenticeships in its construction and operation, as well as pioneering research opportunities. And I am also committed to ensuring that we retain a public ownership stake in the project and exploring the potential for establishing a publicly-owned energy company to retail the power we produce.
“This would be another string to our impressive bow when it comes to green energy. Alongside our existing strengths in wind and hydrogen power, I believe we have the potential to be the UK’s Renewable Energy Coast.”
He acknowledges a project of this scale requires significant funding, but said: “We will put our money where our mouth is but we also need to secure investment from the private sector and, crucially, from government. If levelling up is a serious proposition they should be looking to invest in cutting edge schemes like this.”
Over the past two years the authority has undertaken early technical work to understand the potential scope of the scheme, including initial energy and hydrodynamic modelling, cost analysis and supply chain engagement and to develop possible funding and delivery models.
It has also undertaken early environmental assessment work and held discussions to influence national government’s energy policy.
The current conceptual design was developed as a foundation that is now ready be developed into a more detailed proposal.
This will allow for greater review and development of the scheme including its overall design and spatial requirements, materials and embedded carbon, and its construction risks, costs and methods.
This new, highly specialist work will build on initial technical designs to further develop the concept engineering to support assessment of a tidal range scheme based on the River Mersey or in Liverpool Bay.
Project director, Martin Land, said: “Delivering a tidal power scheme is a huge technical and engineering undertaking, but with a huge prize at the end – the generation of clean, predictable, reliable energy for over 100 years .
“The specialist technical and design development work we are looking to commence will help us build on the work already done and enable us to better understand how we marry up inherent renewable power of the Mersey with the latest clean generation technology.
“That will help us move forward with shaping the design of the scheme including drawings, 3D models, bill of materials, construction programme and to get a handle on costs.”
He added: “It’s still early days in the development of such a big scheme, but it’s the beginning of a new, exciting phase for the project.”