UK-based engineering and consultancy services provider Mott MacDonald has been selected to advise on the proposed Northern Tidal Power Gateways across Morecambe Bay and the Duddon Estuary in north west England.
The project, which is being developed by Northern Tidal Power Gateways Ltd, features power generating turbines and transport links from the M6 in the south to Millom, with the potential to also reach Moorside if appropriate.
Initial studies by Northern Tidal Power Gateways have found that the gateway at Morecambe Bay could produce 6,500GWh of electricity per annum, enough to power approximately 1.5 million homes.
The investigations have also found that the Duddon Estuary gateway could generate around 100GWh of electricity each year, the equivalent of powering approximately 25,000 homes.
In addition to the power generated from these renewable resources, there is potential to vastly improve both transport infrastructure and connectivity in the areas, which would boost economic growth. Other possible benefits include employment, education and welfare, environment and flood risk management.
With an estimated construction cost of £8bn, the Northern Tidal Power Gateways have the potential to generate over 7,500 construction jobs and more than £300m gross value added per annum to the north west economy during construction.
The long-term benefits for Lancashire and Cumbria could also be equally significant, with new employment opportunities in key growth sectors such as advanced manufacturing, logistics and tourism. Mott MacDonald will analyse how the wider economic benefits of the scheme can be captured and realised.
Mott MacDonald’s project director David Stork said: “We are very proud to be working on this exciting and ambitious project, which has the potential to be transformational for the north west.
"Our team will be responsible for investigating all the opportunities made possible by this development, as well as understanding the challenges that will need to be overcome to make the project feasible. Mott MacDonald also works on large hydropower projects around the world so we’ll be bringing that extensive expertise to the project as well.”
Northern Tidal Power Gateways is the brainchild of Dewhurst Torevell chairman Alan Torevell.
He said: “We have been engaged in promoting this project for over four years with substantial help from the University of Lancaster, the National Environmental Research Council and others along the way. We have also had exhibitions in Whitehaven, Barrow, Morecambe, Manchester and Liverpool which have generated overwhelming public support.
"We are very proud that a company with the skill and prestige of Mott MacDonald is now working alongside us. It is hoped that before the end of Autumn 2017 there will be sufficient confidence to move into the feasibility phase of the project, where all the necessary planning requirements will need to be met and any remaining environmental concerns alleviated, to enable a start to be made.”
Lancaster University Professor George Aggidis added: “Energy is nearly as critical to survival as water and food, in fact helping to deliver these essentials. Electricity and fuels are fundamental to commerce, health, education, culture and recreation and we are at a crucial point in how we make and use energy.
"Britain is blessed with some of the best renewable ocean energy resources in the world and the Northern Tidal Power Gateways project will utilise exactly these.”