In June 2017, the Duchy of Lancaster nominated SIMEC Atlantis Energy as their preferred partner to develop the proposed Wyre Estuary tidal barrage and flood protection project, situated between Fleetwood and Knott End on the Lancashire coast. SIMEC Atlantis Energy is currently in the process of completing feasibility studies in order to proceed to the next stage of design, engineering and consenting, following which the construction phase would be expected to commence in 2021.
“We believe our proposed project for the Wyre Estuary represents a golden opportunity for the Government to reinforce its commitment to tidal range technology” said SIMEC CEO Tim Cornelius. “As well as generating predictable, zero carbon, sustainable power to the region, the project also offers flood protection capabilities for the local Wyre valley. With an expected CAPEX of £250 million and lifespan of 120 years, this project will have over 100 MW of installed generation capacity and we expect that it will require a subsidy that is less than the CfD awarded to Hinkley Point and potentially less than Horizon. Therefore the Wyre Estuary project is the ideal, cost effective option to develop tidal range technology, as well as diversify the UK’s energy mix. It will provide a significant economic boost to Fleetwood and the surrounding area and fits well with the governments announced Northern Powerhouse Strategy”.
Mr Cornelius added that the project is the ideal pathfinder for a series of similar range projects being planned across the UK, including the Mersey, which only adds to its appeal as a sensible and good value investment proposition. The project will prove up the turbine technology required to make larger project viable and bankable. Cornelius also said that he expects the Wyre project to become the natural pathfinder for the larger planned lagoon projects in locations such as Cardiff, Colwyn Bay and the Solway Firth, and called upon the government to unlock the economic potential of tidal energy by supporting the construction of the Wyre project.