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IMechE Thomas Lowe Gray 2022 Lecture: Morecambe Bay Tidal Barrage

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paper

Publication date24/05/2022
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventIMechE Thomas Lowe Gray 2022 Lecture: Morecambe Bay Tidal Barrage - IMechE HQ London and Online, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 24/05/2022 → …
Conference number: TLE7513


ConferenceIMechE Thomas Lowe Gray 2022 Lecture
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period24/05/22 → …
Internet address


Morecambe Bay has one of the best tidal resources in the world and is used here to demonstrate its potential in the UK. Other tidal range projects currently under development promise 10 GW installed capacity, delivering over 20TWh/y, about 5% of UK energy use. The resource is predictable, circumventing issues of intermittency and storage commonly associated renewable power. The potential for other UK tidal range projects can easily increase output by over 3 times.
The Lancaster Tidal Energy Model (LTEM) aims to deliver environmental engineering for an uncertain future. A simple 0-D model and accompanying cost estimation allows 'what if' modelling to explore options for future development. For Government, it is important that they can examine where it is best to invest to deliver their policy on a level playing field. They have a number of commitments (levelling up, environmental protection, social, health and economic security) that each have calls on funding and must be effectively prioritized. Government’s reputation is not good at joined up thinking; LTEM will help.
Morecambe Bay is globally recognised as a unique environmental asset with a large area of intertidal mudflats that support significant populations of wading birds. Government has accepted responsibility to protect and maintain this status through RAMSAR, SPA, SAC, SSSI, AONB and several other designations. Each of these designations is put at risk through sea level rise; Government intervention is needed to deliver the safeguards they have agreed. Historically, environmental protection constrained development, now the valuable habitats will be lost without it.
A tidal barrage will allow the current tidal range to be maintained, within its existing boundaries protecting the hinterland from both tidal and riverine flooding. The operation of the barrage would involve the guidance by the conservation agencies (Environment Agency, Natural England, Marine Management Organisation, etc.), but will still pay for itself in sustainable power generation.
LTEM provides an initial assessment comparing selected locations operating under specific management objectives and regimes. Using a cascade approach to decision making needs more detailed (2-D and 3-D) modelling, but LTEM is an essential first step; action is needed now.