Feasibility Study For Solway Tidal Barrage Renewable Energy Project

This is good news! Tidal power is a very promising form of clean energy.

ECONOMIC development agency Cumbria Vision has welcomed the publication of a feasibility study on the potential for renewable energy generation across the Solway Firth.

The Solway Firth Energy Feasibility Study has identified options for four tidal barrages, two lagoons and three tidal reefs, which could generate between 100MW to 6GW of energy. Any development would result in significant investment and job creation in West Cumbria, while providing enough green energy to power hundreds of thousands of homes. It could also create an important transport link between north east Cumbria and southern Scotland, bringing wider economic benefits to both sides of the Solway Firth.

The Solway Estuary is the second most powerful estuary in Britain after the Severn Estuary. Its massive potential was outlined in the recently published report, The Scope for renewable Energy in Cumbria**, written by former Government energy adviser and environmental scientist Sir Martin Holdgate on behalf of Cumbria Vision’s Renewable Energy Panel.

Sir Martin identified the proposed Solway Energy Gateway and Bridge Across the Bay (Morecambe Bay) – located to the north and south of Britain’s Energy Coast™ – as having great potential to help Britain meet tough renewable and carbon reduction targets. However, he stressed the importance of striking a balance between energy generation and the need to protect Cumbria’s stunning natural environment.

Simon Sjenitzer, Strategy Director at Cumbria Vision – one of the partners behind the Britain’s Energy Coast™ initiative – said: “We now have a number of options on the table for this exciting project – the real challenge now lies in agreeing on the best way forward. The huge potential of a Solway Energy Gateway is obvious, but given the many environmental protections in place and the large scale costs of tidal development, it is essential we look to identify an option which is acceptable, achievable and can generate a substantial amount of green energy.”

“Tidal power has an important role to play in the Britain’s Energy Coast™ initiative and the wider push across Cumbria to become a significant generator in low carbon and renewable energy. It is important we replicate the national wish for an energy mix, and schemes such as the Solway Energy Gateway will help make a valuable contribution to the Government’s renewable energy and carbon reduction targets.

The Solway Firth Energy Feasibility Study examined options for energy generation against technical, financial, environmental and socio-economic impacts. It can be downloaded at http://www.solwayenergygateway.co.uk.

The next step is to raise awareness of the potential for development within the market by presenting a report at the BWEA Wave and Tidal Conference on March 3-4. Developers and utility companies interested in the scheme can contact Nigel Catterson of nb21c on 07952 568062.