TIDAL BARRAGE SCHEME cont……
This is the third stage of Peel Energy's Mersey Tidal Power Feasibility Study, backed by the NWDA North West Development Agency (England). Tidal barrage, tidal fence technology and locations have been researched by the team since last September. A 3.5-mile stretch along the Mersey estuary, between Dingle and Garston on the Liverpool side, and New Ferry to Eastham on the Wirral side, is the most favoured location.
Of the possible three sites, one at Otterspool, Dingle - New Ferry, Wirral, was the preferred option by the now defunct Mersey Barrage Co,back in 1988-92, to generate up to 700MW of electricity.
Peel Energy is about to embark on a public consultation process with 10 meetings around the Mersey waterfront, starting Saturday week in Bebington (see panel).
The conservation lobby's arguments to preserve the status quo, partly caused the old MBC scheme to fail. In 20 years, those arguments have not gone away. Already the study team has dismissed tidal fence technologies as being of the wrong type in the wrong place regarding use in the Mersey Estuary. Now the preferred options of one impounding barrage and two very low head barrage schemes are being investigated.
No decision has been made on whether the barrage will carry a road deck over it.
The outcome of the feasibility studies should be revealed by the end of next March. The aim is to progress this scheme through the planning system by 2012, if it is deemed to be feasible and viable. With four to five years of construction, it could be operational by 2020 to support national renewable energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
The Mersey has the second highest tidal range in the UK, after the Severn. It ranges between 13ft (4m) neap (smallest) tides to nearly 33ft (10m) spring (biggest) tides. The river estuary's bottleneck forces water to flow faster, creating a deep channel at the narrows between Bootle - New Brighton and Garston - Eastham.
'The nearer the river mouth, the stronger the currents, and the better for a barrage to generate electricity. But this has to be balanced with the busy shipping use, including the biggest tankers needing to reach Tranmere. The further upstream the barrage lies, the less bother to navigation, but the lower the head of water. "The largest scheme, covering around 23sq miles (60sq km), could deliver over 900m units (kilowatt hours) of electricity annually," said Mr Hatton.
This is enough renewable electricity to meet the needs of over 200,000 homes. "That's a significant proportion of Liverpool city region homes," he said. "Scale helps the economics, but it has to be acceptable to the shipping, business, environment and the community. It has a big capital and development cost, and we need to drive this to get as much out of it as we can. "In a scheme like this all the money goes up front, not for our development costs. Most investors want a ready-cooked scheme with consent.
Besides the internationally significant wildlife habitats, the study also revealed other factors relating to the scheme's potential impact on the estuary .
They include protected fish species and flood risk management plans. "These issues are being addressed through further design and assessment work," said Mr Hatton. "But it's a fact that the more energy you take out of the water, the more you change the local environment."
People canvassed for views on Peel's tide of change IF THE Mersey tidal-power scheme goes ahead, it will create big issues, both practical and emotional, for local businesses and residents. Some of these matters can be assessed by firms and people likely to be affected through Peel Energy's Statement of Community Consultation published on its website and in local papers, from November 29 to December 6, describing how it will conduct this. Extracts from Liverpool Daily Post
Peel Energy says it is keen to take the public along with it as the scheme is progressed.
E mail email@example.com
Postal: Peel Energy, Mersey Tidal Power consultation, Peel Dome, The Trafford Centre, Manchester M17 8PL
Feasibility 2 report ca. 110 pp. to be found at