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Tidal power on the Mersey?

A previously-shelved proposal to build a tidal power station on the River Mersey has been re-launched by Liverpool mayor Steve Rotherham.

A previously-shelved proposal to build a tidal power station on the River Mersey has been re-launched by Liverpool mayor Steve Rotherham.

The Mersey Tidal Power project would involve the construction of a barrage across the River Mersey between New Ferry and Dingle to capture tidal waters which can then be used to power turbines.

The project, which would also include navigation locks and a visitor centre, was originally suspended in 2011 because of the multi-billion price tag, despite the potential to power up to 200,000 homes.

However, Liverpool mayor Steve Rotherham said that the city’s devolution deal with government gives the project a new lease of life.

“[The project] has been debated and discussed for over three decades. Devolution finally gives us the opportunity to deliver a project of this scale.”

‘Massive potential’

Brent Cheshire, former chairman of DONG Energy UK (now Ørsted) - which has invested heavily in offshore wind in Liverpool Bay - has been appointed to develop a business case for the scheme over the next 12 months.

The success of renewables is also forcing a noticeable shift in the energy industry. Danish energy company DONG Energy, which has invested heavily in offshore wind farms in the UK, recently revealed that it will be changing its name to Ørsted in order to ditch its ‘Danish Oil & Natural Gas’ roots. 

“This is a hugely exciting and ambitious vision with the potential to impact massively on the city region’s long-term economic prospects”, he said.

“Liverpool City Region has delivered world-changing engineering projects in the past, so if it can be done anywhere it can be done here”.

Turn of the tide

The UK has some of the highest tidal ranges in the world, with potential schemes in Lancashire and Cumbria also vying for investment.

A government-commissioned review of tidal power earlier this year backed the technology as an “important and exciting new industry”.