From summer 2016 to early 2017, we have been working with our development partners to complete our concept designs. This in-depth work, which has cost over half a million pounds and has validated our business plans allowing us to progress into formal planning processes.
The key outputs from this proof-of-concept are as follows :
- The anticipated annual electricity generation is 287 GWh – this will be enough to provide power for approximately 80 000 homes.
- The total construction build cost, inclusive of significant contingencies – around £400m – with a material part of this spend being incurred locally, creating jobs and bringing money into the Wyre region. With this construction cost and generation, the government subsidies required will be comparable to offshore wind-farms, despite this being the first-of-a-kind in the UK and much cheaper than any other tidal energy projects. Initial discussions with the UK government have been supportive and it is anticipated that the completion of the Wyre Gateway will stimulate a new industry, with the Wyre at its heart, and allow construction of a fleet of barrages and lagoons along the West coast of the country.
The structure itself will be 10m wide and 370m long which will allow the rising and the falling tides to be held back, creating the necessary head of water to drive hydro-power turbines.
Final designs will ensure that the structure blends in with the surrounding area and maximise its aesthetic appeal.
Housed within the structure will be :
- 8 turbines – each with a 27ft diameter, located below low tide levels
- 4 sluice gates – to allow greater flow of water when needed and helping mimic natural tidal cycles
- a large lock – to allow the passage of large vessels to the up-river port and also for future commercial ventures such as the return of a ferry service
- a small lock – for use of pleasure vessels and small fishing ships
- A visitors centre is also planned – this will provide tourism and educational facilities to ensure maximum economic and social benefit to the town
Due to the size and importance of the Wyre Gateway, a national planning process will be followed, this is known as the Development Consent Order (DCO). Having completed our proof-of-concept designs, we are now a the point of commencing these formal planning processes.
The expected timeline is as follows :
- commence detailed studies and designs – spring 2017
- completion of preparation phase and submission of DCO application – autumn 2018
- formal granting of DCO planning approval – early 2020
- commencement of construction – spring 2020
- power ON and fully operational – early 2023
This planning process of 3 years will cost £15m to complete.The first £5m of funding is now available to us and will allow commencement of studies and designs from spring 2017.