Mersey River tidal power station proposed

Nov 22, 2005

The Mersey River may soon become the first river in Britain to generate electricity by tidal activity. The river, known for its leaping salmon, is now being tested as a possible renewable energy source.

Attendees at the annual meeting Tuesday in Liverpool of the Mersey Basin Campaign were to hear of plans to construct a tidal power fence that could generate an estimated 2,000 megawatts of electricity -- enough power to meet 15 percent of northwest England's electricity requirements, the Independent reported.

Scientists say the Mersey has more tidal power potential than virtually any other river in Europe, by virtue of its 33-foot tidal range and strong currents.

Under the plan, a fence would be built across the width of the river, the Independent said. Water would be trapped behind gates that would be shut at high tide and then allowed to escape through the turbines of a hydroelectric plant.

The model for such a project is the tidal power station at the estuary of the La Rance River in France. That tidal station delivers about a fifth of the output of a nuclear or coal-fired power plant.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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