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Hopes rise for Solway tidal project

Section:  Annan and Eskdale  | Tags: ,

A TIDAL energy scheme connecting Annan to Bowness-on-Solway is making progress – with a workshop aimed at planning its future.

However, the team behind the scheme say they have moved away from plans to create a roadway as part of a development which could generate an annualised output of 40MW — enough to power 40,000 homes.
Nigel Catterson, of Solway Energy Gateway Ltd, said: “The technology’s ready to roll now.”
Hailing the meeting at Solway House in Dumfries on Thursday, focused on a project expected to cost between £300 million and £400 million, he added: “We’ve invited
key stakeholders from both sides of the border — local government, environment and environmental bodies.
“The intention of the workshop, which will be run by (global consulting engineers) Arup is to determine what we need to encompass in looking at a scoping study.”
Mr Catterson says the move will pave the way for a feasibility study.
He said: “What we’ve got is a situation where I have a number of investors that are very keen to invest in this project. Many of those are overseas.
“Clearly, we want to look at our options, but they will only invest once the project is ready to go. So all of this work is to engage with people to get it to a stage of readiness.”
Mr Catterson says he believes there is a political will to see the project brought to life, having recently held a site meeting with two representatives of the Government’s
Department of Energy and Climate Change.
He said: “They’re very excited about it, and very excited about the prospects for the new technology.”
But while there was initial thoughts of combining the ground-breaking Venturi Enhanced Turbing Technology (VETT) tidal technology with a cross-border roadway across the Solway, Mr Catterson says that view has changed.
He said: “At the moment we are thinking that is probably going to be less likely. We’re looking at a number of options, but because we’re wanting to develop this as an international proof of concept, we will use the term ‘electric bridge’—but it would be a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists; that’s what we’re looking at at the moment.”
He added: “This is about energy generation, and ultimately about pulling income back into communities, and it’s very much about creating something people can come and enjoy.”

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