Plans have been drawn up for a new £12bn tidal power project spanning Cumbria and south-west Scotland that would supply energy to millions of homes.
Energy company North West Energy Squared is exploring the possibility of developing the 108 km Solway Tidal Project over the between Workington in Cumbria and Stranraer (pictured) in south-west Scotland.
The company claims the tidal barrage would create more than 12m MWh of energy a year, enough to power 2.5m homes.
It would also involve the construction of a 108 km barrage with a road running along the top, which would cut the journey between Workington and Stranraer by 113 km.
If the firm secures investment, construction could begin as early as 2022 with up to 6,000 jobs created during peak construction.
The Solway Estuary Tidal Lagoon Project is the biggest of six tidal projects across the North-west of England that have been proposed by the company.
The other planned projects include the Mersey Tidal Gate Way; the Ribble Estuary Gate Way, north of Southport; and the Dee Tidal Gateway linking Prestatyn to West Kirby in Merseyside.
North West Energy Squared’s plans also include the development of the Morecambe Bay Tidal Gateway, linking Heysham to Barrow on the Fylde Coast.
The company has begun showing 3D models of the proposed tidal projects to local business leaders in the North-west and the general public.
Speaking to the BBC, North West Energy Squared chairman Alan Torevell said the plans had had been well received by the public so far.
Mr Torevell said: “The Solway part of it, in terms of electricity production part of it, is the most important part.
“We would produce probably 50 per cent more electricity from that - maybe 12m MWh a year.
“It has the least positive impact on the local economy and the impact on transport improvements simply because the number of people going across the Solway towards the port of Cairnryan is fewer than the number of people potentially going across Morecambe Bay.”
In June this year, energy secretary Amber Rudd granted planning permission for the UK’s first tidal lagoon project in Swansea.
Construction on the £1bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon was due to start next spring but will now not begin until 2017 after the company failed to agree a strike price with the government.
The completion date for the project has now been moved from 2019 to 2021.