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Developer named on £400m 'UK-first' tidal barrage

Tidal power giant Atlantis has been named as preferred developer for the £400m Wyre Tidal Barrage project in Lancashire.

The energy company is now in negotiations with landowner the Duchy of Lancaster as preferred developer on the scheme, which will be capable of providing almost 300 GWh of energy a year to power 80,000 homes.

Atlantis joins a development team that includes Bam Nuttall as contractor, alongside consultants Arcadis, Mott MacDonald and Andritz Hydro.

The energy firm says it expects the process of obtaining all necessary consents for work to begin to take around three years (see timeline) and will cost £15m to complete.

This includes the granting of a development consent order (DCO) by the government, which needs to be granted before construction of the project, which is expected to cost £400m, can begin in spring 2020.

The barrage will be 10 m wide and 370 m long, housing eight 27 ft turbines, four sluice gates and two locks. The developer also plans to build a visitor centre alongside the barrage, which has an expected lifespan of more than 125 years.

Construction News first revealed Bam Nuttall’s role on the project in August last year.

At the time, Bob Long, managing director of the project lead Natural Energy Wyre, told CN: “When it comes to contract for difference schemes it has to go out to tender, but we and Bam are confident that if they have been engaged from an early stage and if they are in price and budget of potential competitors, then we would be crazy for non-monetary reasons not to engage them.”

Wyre Tidal Barrage: Proposed timeline

  • Spring 2017: Commencement of detailed studies and designs
  • Autumn 2018: Completion of preparation phase and submission of DCO application
  • Early 2020: Formal granting of DCO planning approval
  • Spring 2020: Commencement of construction
  • Early 2023: The barrage becomes fully operational

If the project gains formal DCO planning approval, it will be the first scheme of its type to be built in the UK, and will be “much cheaper than any other tidal energy projects”, according to Natural Energy Wyre.

Atlantis CEO Tim Cornelius said: “The Wyre Valley tidal barrage and flood protection project represents a hugely exciting opportunity to showcase the UK’s world-leading commercial tidal energy potential.

“We believe that the project will help to stimulate the local economy in Fleetwood, bring wider benefits to the region, and represent a cost-effective option for clean, large-scale domestic power production.

“This will be a major project for our Atlantis Energy division as we continue our diversification strategy and we look forward to working with the Duchy of Lancaster, our partners, investors and supply chain to bring the project to fruition.” 

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