Located on the border between Scotland and England, the Solway Firth provides a significant opportunity for tidal energy capture. Recent research by the Joule Centre, the Universities of Liverpool and Lancaster and previous studies by Babtie, Shaw and Morton in the 1960s all highlight the possibilities for tidal energy extraction from the Solway Firth.

The concept of the ‘Solway Energy Gateway’ is being actively promoted and seeks to extract energy from the Solway Firth by means of a tidal range barrage located between Bowness and Annan, along the route of a former rail viaduct, spanning the upper reaches of the Firth at its narrowest point. This location provides the advantage of a possible grid connection at the nearby Chapelcross nuclear power station which is currently being decommissioned.

The proposal aims to ensure local communities, on each side of the Firth in England and Scotland benefit directly from this highly significant resource. The study will assess additional benefits as a result of the project, including:

• Significant economic development impact.

• Immediate employment and associated employment opportunities.

• Flood defence.

• Potential for freshwater storage and extraction.

• Improved connectivity for West Cumbria and South West Scotland – if linked to possible constructions across Morecambe Bay and the Duddon Estuary it would help to create an enhanced connective corridor for West Cumbria and South West Scotland.

The study will be carried out by a consortium led by the Halcrow Group Limited, supported by nb21c (social enterprise) Ltd the organisation responsible for conceiving, developing and promoting the community based proposal which will support the study.

A Solway Energy Gateway Steering Group is currently being put in place, with representation from organisations and individuals from both side of the border, funders and interested parties from the public and private sector. This will provide a forum for peer review of progress.