Metro mayor offers new hope for stalled Liverpool tidal energy project

A long-shelved proposal for a tidal power installation on Liverpool’s River Mersey has new life following an announcement made by metro mayor Steve Rotheram this week.

Rotheram, speaking on the occasion of the six-month anniversary of his election, named Brent Cheshire, former chair of DONG Energy UK, to examine rebooting the project.

The US$4.6 billion tidal energy facility was proposed by developers Peel Energy and the Northwest Development Agency for installation in the Mersey Estuary between New Ferry and Dingle.

And though the project would have been built with a 120-year life span and a number of public infrastructure works — including navigation locks, a visitor center, pedestrian paths and marine hydrokinetic research center — it was ultimately deemed economically unfeasible, leading to its suspension in 2011.

What exactly has changed in the years since to make the project more financially attractive is unclear, though Rotheram credits the renewed interest to continued devolution in England.

“Devolution finally gives us the opportunity to deliver a project of this scale, and Brent provides us with the expertise, experience and leadership capability to turn vision into reality,” Rotheram said.

If constructed according to original specifications, the project could provide power to up to 200,000 homes.

“This is a hugely exciting and ambitious vision with the potential to impact massively on the City Region’s long-term economic prospects,” Cheshire said. “The Liverpool City Region has delivered world-changing engineering projects in the past, so if it can be done anywhere, it can be done here.”

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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