New image unveiled for £340m power scheme

NEW's new images of the barrage planned for the Wyre
NEW's new images of the barrage planned for the Wyre
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The team behind a bid to build a power generating tidal barrage at the River Wyre has released new images of how it could look.

The plans show the construction across the river, with a commercial lock and leisure lock plus a marina as well as the section where the turbines which would deliver 290 Giga Watt Hours a year to the national grid.

The £340m scheme is being put forward by Natural Energy Wyre which has now completed a study focusing on the financial and practical aspects of the plan.

The team recently got a boost by a Government report by Charles Hendry which supported tidal power as a long term solution to green energy needs.

The report singled out a tidal lagoon scheme in Swansea as the leading example but the turbine technology would be the same at the Fleetwood site.

Bob Long CEO, Natural Energy Wyre Ltd, said “I read Charles Hendry’s report with great excitement, as it clearly paves the way for tidal-hydro technology to feature prominently in UK’s energy-mix”.

He said their own feasibility study “confirms the projects viability, within financial, mechanical, civil and ecological boundaries.”

He said the predictability of the tides, the fact that the Fylde coast has some of the highest tidal ranges in the world and the sheer length of time it will be in operation 120 years made it now more attractive to investors.

He said: “Tidal Gateways are often described as ‘barrages’, a terminology that alarms environmental lobby groups and conjures up visions of dams, dividing estuaries from the rivers that feed them.

“A barrage or barrier, which stops water flow, would cause severe impact on eco-systems in rivers and estuaries by stopping the natural ingress and egress of tidal events.

“The passage of fish would be impossible, up-stream salinity would reduce or completely disappear, destroying complex eco-systems, grazing banks for wading birds would be inaccessible, and flood risks from heavy rainfall would be heightened.

“A more accurate description would be an “Estuary Gateway”, allowing the natural passage of water in and out of the river estuary, albeit through a series of huge sluice gates and multiple turbine apertures, each one being nearly 30ft in diameter.”

He said at slack water high and low tide water low would not be obstructed allowing fish to pass through freely.

He added: “With an anticipated life-span of well over 120 years, Estuary Gateways will not only help save the planet, but will provide effective defence against rising sea levels, and the potential for wide spread flooding.”

In December the project was visited by a Chinese delegation with a view to investment.

The team, based at the former post office in North Albert Street, Fleetwood, has already been granted exclusive rights by the Duchy of Lancaster allowing the scheme to go forward towards planning permission.

Dr Jenifer Baxter, Head of Energy and Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers welcomed the Hendry report and said of tidal schemes: “The tidal lagoons programme offers Wales and the UK a great opportunity to become a global leader in this form of renewable power generation.”