One of the impacts in the UK of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has been increased energy bills.
This highlighted how our country, and many others, rely on unreliable and unstable energy sources, with Russia being the world’s third largest oil producer and second largest producer of natural gas.
A project in the River Mersey in Liverpool could be the power source we need to become more self-sufficient, reports the Liverpool Echo. Tidal energy is a safer and more sustainable source of energy.
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Wave energy is converted into energy sources such as electricity. The UK government recently commissioned the exploration of the Severn Estuary in the South West, which has the second highest tidal range in the world, as a source of renewable energy.
It has also just been announced that a major tidal project off Anglesey will receive over £30million in funding.
In the Liverpool city area, there have been talks of a proposed tidal flow into the River Mersey since Steve Rotheram was elected as the metro’s first mayor in 2017. He listed it as one of his main long-term goals and as a crucial project to drive the region towards net zero.
The massive renewable energy project, which could take the form of a dam or a tidal lagoon, could eventually generate enough clean, predictable energy to power up to a million homes and create thousands of jobs in its construction and operation. It is hoped that the Mersey Tidal project could be operational within a decade, playing a huge role in pushing the region towards net zero carbon by 2040 – at least a decade ahead of national targets.
Over the past two years, the Combined Authority (CA) has undertaken preliminary technical work to understand the potential scope of the program, including initial energy and hydrodynamic modeling, cost analysis and supply chain engagement. procurement, and to develop possible financing and delivery models. It also undertook preliminary environmental assessment work and held discussions to influence national government energy policy.
The current conceptual design was developed as a base which is now ready to be developed into a more detailed proposal. This will allow for further review and development of the project, including its overall design and spatial requirements, materials and embedded carbon, and construction risks, costs and methods. To accomplish this, CA has announced that it is seeking to appoint an expert technical advisor and designer who will develop the designs for the next stage of the program.
This highly specialized new work will build on the initial engineering designs to further develop conceptual engineering to support the assessment of a tidal range scheme based on the River Mersey or in Liverpool Bay.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the City of Liverpool Region, said: “Given the crisis in the cost of living that we are experiencing due to soaring petrol prices and the race against time we face to save our planet, there has never been a better time to grow and invest. into new clean and renewable energy sources.
“Mersey Tidal Power will be a project of international significance, the success of which would have major implications for the global energy market. When operational, we believe it has the potential to generate enough predictable power to power one million local homes.
“But its benefits would not stop there. It would also create thousands of well-paying local jobs and apprenticeships in its construction and operation, as well as pioneering research opportunities.
He added: “I am also committed to ensuring that we retain public ownership of the project and to exploring the potential for the creation of a public energy company to retail the electricity we produce.
“It would be another string to our impressive green energy bow. Alongside our existing strengths in wind and hydrogen, I believe we have the potential to be the UK’s renewables coast.
“A project of this scale requires significant funding. We will put our money where we are, but we also need to get investment from the private sector and, most importantly, government. If the upgrade is a serious proposition, they should looking to invest in cutting-edge projects like this.
Project Director Martin Land said: “Delivering a tidal power system is a huge technical and engineering undertaking, but with a huge price tag at the end: the generation of clean, predictable power. and reliable for over 100 years. The technical development and specialist design work we plan to begin will help us build on the work already done and give us a better understanding of how we marry the inherent renewable energy of the Mersey with the latest clean generation technology.
“It will help us move forward with the design of the project, including drawings, 3D models, bill of materials, construction program and keep costs under control. We are still in the early days of developing a such a project, but it’s the start of an exciting new phase for the project.”
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