The business case for a multi-billion River Mersey renewable energy project will be developed over the next year, Liverpool’s metro mayor Steve Rotheram announced.
Former Dong Energy UK chairman Brent Cheshire will lead the project, Rotheram said. The mayor also used the speech, six months on from his election, to outline transport and connectivity improvements to be made in the region.
The Mersey Tidal Power project was scrapped in 2011 because of high construction costs, but the mayor said devolution had given them the opportunity to deliver the project.
Rotheram said: “I am delighted that Brent has agreed to lead this project. It has been debated and discussed for over three decades.
“Devolution finally gives us the opportunity to deliver a project of this scale, and Brent provides us with the expertise, experience and leadership capability to turn vision into reality.”
The preferred 2011 scheme, commissioned by Peel Energy and The Northwest Development Agency (NWDA), was a barrage across the River Mersey between New Ferry and Dingle.
However studies found that the estimated £3.5bn construction costs would result in electricity costs that were not competitive in the energy and capital markets at the time.
Brent Cheshire said: “I am pleased to accept Steve’s invitation to head up the Special Purpose Vehicle that will take this project forward.
“This is a hugely exciting and ambitious vision with the potential to impact massively on the City Region’s long-term economic prospects.
“Liverpool City Region has delivered world-changing engineering projects in the past, so if it can be done anywhere it can be done here”.
Rotheram announced the launch of a six-month study to connect Liverpool to the GTT Trans-Atlantic cable in Southport to create “a region wide fibre spine” to guarantee internet connectivity.
Transport improvements were also on the agenda and Rotheram outlined plans for a new smart ticketing initiative, more affordable Mersey Tunnel crossings and the commissioning of the design for a new Mersey Ferry.