Parsons Brinckerhoff to undertake tidal energy study in Cumbria

Posted: Tuesday 6th April 2010

Parsons Brinckerhoff, the international engineering consultant, has been commissioned to explore options for tidal energy generation across the Duddon Estuary in South Cumbria. Tidal barrages, fences, reefs and other innovative technologies will all be considered along with the potential for a road link between Millom and Barrow-in-Furness.

The study has been commissioned by regeneration organisation Britain’s Energy Coast West Cumbria and will seek to identify the best options for any potential development.

Parsons Brinckerhoff will review the findings of previous studies carried out by Balfour Beatty and Sir Robert McAlpine for the Department for Trade and Industry back in 1994; while taking into account the recent revival of interest in tidal energy and the introduction of challenging renewable energy and carbon reduction targets.

Previous studies have suggested the Duddon Estuary has potential to generate around 100MW of energy – enough to power in the region of 200,000 homes – and provide a new transport link that would cut 17 miles off the current journey between Millom and Barrow.

This latest study for a Duddon Estuary Tidal Energy Scheme will examine options from an energy, infrastructure and environmental perspective. It will asses the suitability of existing and emerging tidal technologies, set against the cost of development and the potential environmental impact of any scheme. It will also set options against the wider context of the pressing need to update Cumbria’s connection to the National Grid and to improve transport links in Furness and West Cumbria to support the wider Britain’s Energy Coast™ initiative.

The study has been funded with a £30,000 grant from Britain’s Energy Coast West Cumbria and a further £30,000 from the Carbon Challenge Fund, which is administered by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). Parsons Brinckerhoff and Britain’s Energy Coast West Cumbria will hold a workshop for invited key stakeholders in March, and a second more comprehensive workshop before it publishes the findings of the study in the summer.

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