Study reveals Solway’s potential

Tidal energy in the Solway Firth could generate power for hundreds of thousands of homes but would need significant financial support to proceed, according to a new study.

Co-ordinated by Scottish Enterprise, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), the ‘Solway Firth Energy Feasibility Study’ assessed the viability of energy extraction from the estuary.

As the third largest estuary in the UK and the second most powerful tidal estuary after the Severn, the Solway Firth has the potential to accommodate a range of renewable-energy generation capacity, from less than 100MW to approximately 6GW, which could support the UK in moving towards its 2020 targets for carbon reduction.

The study identified nine main options incorporating a range of technologies, including tidal barrage, tidal lagoon and tidal reef.

For each of the identified options, associated technical, environmental and financial limitations were considered.

David Gass, regional director of Scottish Enterprise, said: ‘The completion of this study is a key milestone in the project, which will allow us to identify how the Solway Firth can help meet the government’s targets relating to renewable-energy generation and carbon reduction.’

A copy of the report can be downloaded here from the Solway Energy Gateway website.