Model vision of the future

The Mersey and Dee estuaries’ potential to be an alternative source of energy is being showcased at the International Festival for Business 2014 with in an interactive, physical model of the North West coast from Prestatyn to Stranraer.

This stretch of coastline has the biggest access to tidal energy in Europe because of its tidal range differentials and experts calculate that, if harnessed, it would produce a phenomenal 20 terrawatts – a nuclear power station produces around eight terrawatts.

The 3m x 1.5m was commissioned by the NW Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) and built by Arup and has been unveiled at the IFB Hub by Juergen Maier, MD UK & Ireland for Siemens.

The model shows locations for five tidal gateways:

  • Solway
  • Morecambe
  • Ribble estuary
  • Mersey estuary
  • Dee estuary

The model also connects the gateways by road and reveals all the potential statistics for employment construction, engineering and tourism.

The £100,000 model has had technical input from Lancaster University’s Renewable Energy Group, tidal information from the University of Liverpool’s Oceanography Institute and further support from the Peel Group and David Howard at the National Environmental Research Council. It has been sponsored by Dewhurst-Torevell, Liverpool Vision, RBS and United Utilities.

Alan Torevell, chairman of Dewhurst-Torevell and a member of NWBLT, said:  “We initially looked at the use of tidal energy simply to generate power, but then I began to see the double advantage by connecting these gateways for better communications and everything that it brings. We are using it to help promote a more sensible discussion on green, efficient energy and the plethora of benefits it could bring across the North West.”

The model also shows for example, on Solway, normal tides in and out; Spring tides and neap tides (highest and lowest); what happens on the Solway at high tide plus winds, with Carlisle and Cockermouth being flooded; and what the tides will be like by the end of the century – 1 metre increase in sea level.

Why not come and see the model for yourself - during IFB 2014 it is housed on the 3rd Floor of the IFB Hub and is available to view from 9am to 6pm.