Mersey Could Power All City Homes; EXCLUSIVE River Energy Plans Unveiled

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), June 14, 2007 | Go to article overview

Mersey Could Power All City Homes; EXCLUSIVE River Energy Plans Unveiled


Byline: BY VICKY ANDERSON Daily Post Staff

THE River Mersey could provide enough power to supply every home in the city of Liverpool, a new report will reveal today.

Up to 260,000 homes, well beyond the city's 220,000, could benefit from the harnessing of tidal energy and see the river become home to "one of the biggest and most significant renewable energy projects in Britain".

Measures that could include a giant waterwheel, tidal barrage, or turbines in the estuary are being considered by energy experts to be put in place in the next decade.

The River Mersey is one of the top sites for tidal renewable energy in the UK, and the report identifies a number of long-term options to make the most of that power.

The report - commissioned by Peel Holdings, the Mersey Basin Campaign and the North West Development Agency - is a culmination of nearly two years of research in sustainable energy in the region, and will now be debated to see which are feasible for development in various parts of the river.

Engineers have assessed four sections of the Mersey estuary, stretching from Crosby to Ellesmere Port. Each has a different tidal flow and require different technologies to harness power.

It is a combination of the Mersey estuary's large tidal range of eight to 10 metres and unusual shape that create powerful tidal currents.

The largest of the projects - a tidal barrage across the river - would generate 700 MW of electricity, enough to power 260,000 homes and save 516,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The report is in part a response to a government White Paper on the country's future energy needs, which said: "Tidal power could make a significant contribution towards meeting the twin challenges of climate change and security of supply."

The bodies involved in putting together the report, which also assesses the environmental impact of the options, say the study is a "huge opportunity".

Waterwheels, tidal turbines and open-stream energy converters are likely to prove the most viable options. But more ambitious ideas include creating an artificial tidal lagoon in the open sea beyond the mouth of the river, using the flow of water in and out to generate power; a tidal fence of vertical turbines housed in submerged cells built across the estuary; or creating a central reservation in the river to hold open-stream-turbines, converting natural tidal flows into energy.

Joe Flanagan, head of energy at NWDA, said: "We have been looking at all the different technologies available and we are trying to see how they might be applicable in the Mersey."

Professor Peter Guthrie, Professor of Engineering for Sustainable Development at Cambridge University, has been part of the study team led by consultants Buro Happold. …

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