Plans for the development of a new tidal barrage project in the UK have taken a step forward following the signing of an agreement between developer Atlantis Resources and the Duchy of Lancaster.

Atlantis announced this week that it has signed heads of terms with the Duchy for an option for the long-term lease of the riverbed required to develop the Wyre estuary tidal barrage and flood protection project.

Feasibility studies indicate that the project's optimal installed capacity is 160MW, with forecast production of almost 300 GWh of sustainable energy each year.  This would be coupled with flood protection capabilities and other amenities. It is expected that the process of obtaining all necessary consents to begin development will take approximately three years. 

Atlantis will now work with the Duchy of Lancaster, the Wyre and Lancashire councils, local stakeholders, BEIS, the supply chain and investors to progress the Project – with Atlantis as the lead developer. Tenders are expected to be issued early next year with Atlantis also having commenced discussions with potential development stage investors.

In a statement, Atlantis said it believes that the Wyre estuary is ideally suited to be a low cost barrage project and the pathfinder for a series of similar barrage projects being planned across the UK.  In particular, the Mersey tidal power project, which seeks to leverage Liverpool's existing waterways, docks and infrastructure to prioritise green energy, is well advanced. Along with similar projects being planned in Cardiff and Solway, the Mersey tidal power project will aim to benefit from the government's devolution agenda which empowers the new combined authority mayors, or 'metro mayors', to access the £900 million, 30-year investment fund created to promote projects that will stimulate economic growth in their regions.