The Wyre tidal energy scheme at Fleetwood looks set to take a major step forward following the announcement that a multi-national giant is planning to take a leading role in the project.
It means that potentially any question marks over the funding of the entire £300million scheme would be removed, clearing a key barrier to it going ahead.
Natural Energy Wyre (NEW), the Fleetwood team which has developed the initiative, next week plans to host Tim Cornelius, the CEO of tidal power giant Atlantis Resources, in the town to discuss the latest plans.
Atlantis is very much a global organisation, aiming to be the world’s leading developer of tidal power projects and the company involved in the MeyGen project being built in the Pentland Firth in Scotland.
Atlantis has confirmed its partnership with NEW and has launched a new division which builds on the recently announced partnership with French floating offshore wind foundation developer, Ideol, to develop a large-scale flagship project in the UK.
The River Wyre project, which has been under development for several years, is part of those plans, comprising of a 160 MW tidal power plant capable of producing up to 400GWh of carbon free power per year,
Bob Long, director of NEW, said: “Atantis is a massive player in tidal energy and the involvement of Tim Cornelius in this scheme is a game changer, without question.
“The idea is that Atlantis would take over the project but retain NEW members on a management basic.
“We hope to meet up with Tim next week to show him around the site.
“it’s a very exciting development, especially for Fleetwood.
“Atlantis have a proven track record of tidal development and an excellent team which can now move this project forward with real pace.
“I am passionate about the Wyre project and am committed to seeing it delivered for the greater economic good of the region.”
The Wyre scheme, which has often been termed a barrage but is technically not a true barrage design, is one of the most ambitious engineering enterprises ever planned for the Fleetwood area.
It will harness tidal energy from the River Wyre between Fleetwood and Knott End, using giant turbines, at the same time creating a lagoon for leisure use and offering an ecological tourism attraction.
Mr Long says it can regenerate Fleetwood, bringing in huge numbers of visitors and creating jobs.
Tim Cornelius, CEO of Atlantis, commented: “The Wyre project is an opportunity to develop an extremely cost effective tidal range project which represents excellent value for the consumer.
“The geography of the Wyre means that only a relatively small impoundment is required for the power output produced.
“This makes Wyre a very cost effective way to test the concepts of tidal range power.”