A team led by Scott Wilson, EDF, and Drivers Jonas, supported by RSK, APEM, HR Wallingford, Regeneris, Turner & Townsend and Liverpool University has been appointed to identify a single preferred tidal power scheme in the river.
A large scheme could deliver enough renewable electricity to meet the needs of a significant proportion of the homes within the Liverpool city region, the North West Development Agency said.
The Mersey estuary has the potential to make a significant contribution to the Government's target to secure 15% of UK energy from renewable sources by 2020.
The £5m study by the team of consultants will identify the scheme that stands the greatest chance of delivering the maximum affordable energy from the tidal resources in the Mersey Estuary, while taking into consideration its impact on the environment, shipping, business and the community, as well as options for mitigation or compensation. If a single preferred project is identified, Scott Wilson and partners will be responsible for gaining planning consent on Peel Energy's behalf.
A number of wider economic and social benefits would be felt, including the development of significant facilities and skills to support the advancement of renewable energy technologies and supply chains; improvements to local infrastructure and the development of a leisure opportunity and tourist attraction.
Anthony Hatton, development director of Peel Energy, said: "The interest and support from all sectors is a true indication of many people's desire to harness the significant energy resource in the Mersey."