The idea of harnessing tidal power from the Mersey has been discussed before however, this new report represents exciting progress towards it becoming a reality. It is also very well timed given the imminent start of COP28.
The proposed project focuses on establishing either a tidal barrage that stretches from Liverpool to the Wirral, or a stand alone lagoon positioned further along the coast, that will use submerged turbines to generate energy from the tide. Once completed, it is claimed that it could provide predictable renewable energy capable of powering a million homes.
The additional advantage of the tidal barrage would be a new connection between Liverpool and the Wirral, which might also be suitable for cycling or walking. It may also provide some degree of flood defense, a potential danger to Merseyside docklands due to rising water levels.
The article in the Echo came out on the same day that the plans were enthusiastically discussed by metro mayor Steve Rotheram at the "Scaling Up to Reach Net Zero" event that ran at Liverpool World Museum. There it was stressed that while there would be high costs and it would take a long time to implement, the project had the potential to run for 120 years. This is significantly longer than other renewable sources such as offshore wind or solar, where the anticipated lifetime is usually under 30 years. As a result, the tidal project won't just be providing Merseyside with the means to hit net zero by 2050 (or indeed Merseyside's personal goal of 2040), but it will contribute to Merseyside maintaining net zero at 2150!
The general commitment of the North West to net zero was also strikingly evident at the event. In particular, it was inspiring to hear Steve Rotheram and Manchester mayor Andy Burnham talking about working together to provide a joined up plan for the future. There was even mention of the North West becoming a net exporter of renewable energy.
Regarding to building of the tidal barrage, there is currently a large question related to funding the project. It therefore remains to be seen whether it can find its way into the UK overall energy strategy. However, I am hopeful that COP28 will inspire an increase in funding and this Merseyside initiative can take off.
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