Progress for Liverpool’s ambitious Mersey Tidal Power Project
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and South Korean tidal power experts have signed an agreement to share information and research, which would enable the creation of the green energy initiative on the River Mersey.
The Mersey Tidal Power Project would have the capacity to generate power for up to a million homes, according to LCR. In tidal energy projects, power is generated by the natural motion of water turning mechanical turbines.
Korea Water Resource Corporation, known as K-water, is South Korea’s government agency for water resource development. K-water operates the Sihwa Lake tidal power scheme, which has been running since 2011 and generates 552GWh of green energy. That is the equivalent of 862,000 barrels of oil, according to LCR.
The combined authority hopes K-water’s experience will help further its own ambitions for the Mersey Tidal Power Project.
Regarding the agreement, LCR Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “We want to take inspiration from trailblazers around the world, who are already leading the way in tidal energy, and our agreement with K-water is a massive step on our journey to bringing this project to life.
“I am very hopeful that this partnership will flourish and, hopefully, help to position the Liverpool City Region as Britain’s Renewable Energy Coast.”
The connection between K-water and LCR was sparked at COP26 in Glasgow and furthered by a visit to Sihwa Lake by Mersey Tidal project director Martin Land in May.
Jeong Kyeongyun, senior executive vice president of K-water, praised the agreement.
“I believe that this move will help expand exchanges between the two countries to proactively respond to the global climate crisis and to sustainably realize carbon neutrality,” Kyeongyun said.
Rotheram has championed the Mersey Tidal Power Project for years. He mentioned the scheme during Place’s Merseyside Development Update in November, describing how it will help position the region as a leader in green energy.
In a press release announcing the partnership with K-water, Rotheram described why the time was right for tidal energy.
“The case for tidal has never been clearer – both for our economy and our planet, especially given the importance of energy security following Putin’s murderous invasion of Ukraine,” Rotheram said.
“We’ve set ourselves an ambitious target to reach net zero by 2040 at the latest – a decade before the national government – and with an abundance of natural assets and advantages on our doorstep, I believe we have the capability to smash those targets.”
Letting the River Mersey assist in that green ambition only makes sense, according to Rotheram.
“The River Mersey has been the lifeblood of our region’s fortunes for centuries and is central to my ambitions to build a cleaner, greener, and prosperous future for our area,” Rotheram said.
“For as long as I can remember, there has been talk of building a tidal barrage on the Mersey. Thanks to devolution – we’re working to make it a reality.”
LCR estimates that Mersey Tidal Power Project could be operational within a decade. In March, the combined authority announced it was looking for a technical advisor and designer for the project. At that time, the authority suggested that construction could begin in 2027.