The natural ebb and flow of the River Mersey could power up to a million homes. Credit: Phil Kiel on Unsplash

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.

Steve Rotheram and Jeong Kyeongyun LCR p LCR Combined Authority

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram and K-water’s Jeong Kyeongyun. Credit: LCR Combined Authority

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.

Your Comments

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This is fantastic

By Anonymous

Could be very interesting if completed, regular, cost effective energy for the local population and industry?

By Liverpolitis


By Patrick OGORMAN

Why is the Liverpool City Combined Authority signing deals with foreign companies when there are UK companies to sign deals with?

By Philip Smith-Lawrence

    Hey Philip, felt like a clarification may be helpful here – this is a deal to exchange information and best practices. K-water’s Sihwa Lake facility is considered the largest tidal energy project in the world. – Julia

    By Julia Hatmaker

Great news, lets get it done and dusted

By GetItBuilt!

The very best of luck Mr Rotherham. Considering the River Mersey is the reason the city Liverpool actually exists, can you imagine all the local well paid engineeering jobs the tidal barrage will produce, whether that be direct or within the supply chain. Great news.

By Old Hall Street

Like the idea but Steve has to take into account that the Mersey is a working river with a large volume of marine traffic that needs free access to the docks as far up as Runcorn and the ship canal. There will also be issues raised by ecological interests re wildlife etc, and lets not forget how long it took for a harbour variation order to be allowed by government for the now abandoned cruise terminal, therefore this thing could be a long drawn out issue.

By Anonymous

Just wait until the Save Liverpool Bay wildlife hear about this. That will add another 20 years to the start date. I will miss it.

By Eric

It’s works as we have all the resources around coast to create power and should use them as the Koreans have..

By Andy Waring

Does this mean less fish more pollution in the Mersey though

By Pablo

I welcome this new initiative and hope it proves viable, if however it is delayed or refused because of ecological or maritime issues then perhaps the solution could be energy created without the need for giant concrete structures, strategically placed turbines on the river bed and along the river walls can utilise the flow of the flood and ebb tide currents.
Just another idea that has been successfully implemented and with our kinetic intensifier multiplying the pressure of water many times, the impact would be less environmentally damaging so to speak.

By Paul Bergin

This has been talked about for over 60 years and they’ll be talking about it for another 60 years it’ll never be built.

By Anonymous

All comments are worthy of hearing. I suggested think tanks to Mr Johnson Circe three years ago, consisting of multi regional and multi aged participants to brainstorm all kinds of ideas including a bridge from the Blackpool area to the Isle of Man and then onto NI. Nothing happened. It would be interesting to see if such working groups could be created here?
One thing for sure as far as I’m concerned would be that the dredging of rivers would reduce the risk of flooding. We had to stop this when we were in the EU. Now post Brexit, what is to stop us resuming this time proven strategy? And I’m the meantime, creating deeper channels could create stronger tidal surges leading to increased energy production, maybe? Discuss?

By TM Warrington

I would further like to add that a tidal project in the River Seven has floundered due to investment issues, whereas another similar project in East Anglia along the Wash appears to be going ahead.
As we are all part of the same country, why are we not communicating as one on these matters?
Surely the preliminary work already carried out on the Wash project would be of interest to the River Mersey project as well as other areas of the UK? Obviously, the topography would not be identical, but surely the principles are similar? Or do we again waste loads of money researching ideas that have already been done in other parts of our country?

By TM Warrington

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