Wyre Tidal Barrage

Atlantis agrees deal on £400m Wyre tidal barrage

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.

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It has become essential to consider alternative sources of energy, since global warming and natural resource depletion has become an issue in recent years. With the rise of energy demand in the UK due to population growth and technology advancement, it has become substantial to exploit tidal energy potential.
The UK alone has around 30 high potential sites that can generate up to 20.6 TWH per year (Carbon Trust, 2011) that directly encourages the use of the technology. Using a tidal barrage to generate electricity and to provide flood protection system simultaneously is a well thought approach.
I strongly support projects of this nature that strives to find alternative approaches to generate energy rather than the use of traditional methods that depend fossil fuels. Tidal energy is an excellent method due to its reliability and predictability when generating power. However, we have to be careful and aware of the adverse impacts such a great wall could have on the surrounding environment, especially on fishes and other wildlife.
Taking into account the 125-year design life of the tidal barrage, it is anticipated that significant impact on sediment transport in the estuary would be met. In addition, the barrage could change the structure of the coast and lead to the erosion of dunes and other critical habitat. I expect that necessary investigations have been carried out at the initial stages of the project, identifying any adverse impacts on the surroundings and subsequently applying design and management solutions to eliminate or mitigate risks.

By Sufian Fuad Sufian

Any ideas on the energy efficiency of this proposal?

By Man on bicycle

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