Government's tidal report opens door for Wyre plan
Bosses behind a Â£340m tidal barrage scheme on the River Wyre have welcomed a new report backing such schemes.
The Government-commissioned Hendry review has concluded that tidal energy was cost effective and would make a “strong contribution” to the UK’s energy supply.
One focus was on a £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay but the men from Natural Energy Wyre have said the report equally applies to their scheme and its cheaper cost puts it in the lead position to start.
Managing director Bob Long said: “We are delighted by the Hendry report and the depth of skills and investigation it has obviously benefited from. Swansea may be the leading example supported by the report but the Wyre scheme is very close behind it.
“It might produce twice the power of our scheme but at six times the cost.
“It would deliver 520 gigawatt hours per year at a build cost of £1.85bn, but ours delivers 290 giga watt hours a year at a cost of just £340m. The difference is important as it would be tax payers’ money.
“I believe we are giving the Government every incentive to look at the Wyre as the trail blazer in this type of technology. Ours could be the first of its kind opening up the benefits in terms of affordability, operating costs and general understanding.”
He added that the local area would benefit if the barrage went ahead from additional flood protection, jobs locally and a general lift to the local economy. The Wyre scheme would have a lifespan of 120 years, using the twice daily tides to power turbines under water – enough tor 500,000 homes.
Former UK energy minister Charles Hendry investigating tidal energy for nearly a year for his independent inquiry, including visiting potential sites and discussions with industry.
He said: “I believe that the evidence is clear that tidal lagoons can play a cost effective role in the UK’s energy mix and there is considerable value in a small (less than 500 MW) pathfinder project.”
Making 30 recommendations, he concluded that the technology of barrages and lagoons was essentially the same and made and would “contribute positively” towards the UK’s decarbonisation goals.