Renewable energy firm Atlantis has signed heads of terms with the Duchy of Lancaster to lease the land required to build a £400m tidal barrage and flood protection project on the Wyre estuary.
Atlantis has agreed a long-term lease on the riverbed with the Duchy, which will allow it to push on with building the tidal barrage, which has a potential capacity of 160 MW. It will be built on land between Fleetwood and Knott End on the Lancashire coast.
The developer expects the process of obtaining all necessary consents to begin construction of the project will take around three years. Once construction starts, the barrage will take three years to complete, and it is expected to be operational by early 2023.
Atlantis said it would work with the Duchy, Wyre and Lancashire councils, and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to progress the project, with tenders to be issued early next year.
The group also said it had started discussions with potential development stage investors, adding it would “update the market on the outcome of these discussions in due course”.
Tim Cornelius, chief executive of Atlantis, said: “We believe our tidal barrage and flood protection project in the Wyre estuary offers a route to low cost, predictable and sustainable domestic electricity supply. This is the pathfinder project the UK government is looking for, with the potential to facilitate wide-scale development of the UK’s enviable tidal range resources.
“The development, construction and operation of tidal barrages, a well understood and proven predictable renewable energy technology will stimulate local economies across the country, establishing improved infrastructure and creating job and supply chain opportunities.
“Tidal barrages will also provide a good balance for the UK’s renewable portfolio which is currently heavily weighted with intermittent offshore wind.
“We look forward to working with the Duchy of Lancaster, our partners, investors and supply chain to bring this major infrastructure project to fruition.”
The Wyre barrage will be 10m wide and 370m long, housing eight 27ft turbines, four sluice gates and two locks. Atlantis plans to build a visitor centre alongside the barrage, which has an expected lifespan of more than 125 years.
A consortium of Bam Nuttall, Arcadis, General Electric, Mott MacDonald, and Andritz Hydro has worked on a report on the project to demonstrate its engineering and environmental viability.