26 March 2009 - The tidal power of the Irish Sea could be harnessed to provide more than five per cent of the UK's electricity needs engineers claim.
The Daily Telegraph reports that researchers have been studying ways to generate renewable energy by using the "natural motion " of the tides around the north West of England and North Wales.
The results showed that four barrages stretching across estuaries at the Solway
The study was carried out by the University of Liverpool and Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory.
Professor Richard Burrows, from the University's Maritime Environmental and Water Systems Research Group, said: "With concerns mounting over the UK's future energy provision it will soon become paramount that all sources of renewable energy are fully developed.
"Unlike the wind, tides are absolutely predictable. The geographical location of the UK, and the seas that surround it, provide a great platform for marine renewable sources."
The barrages, which would run from one bank of an estuary to the other, would guide water through sluices and power turbines for up to 11 hours a day.
Prof Burrows added: "In terms of the four North West barrages, the energy extracted could equate to 5 per cent of the UK's electricity generation needs."
The study used advanced two-dimensional computational modelling to gather its findings.
Those in favour of building barrages also say they would provide substantial sea defence, as well as flood alleviation, by draining the estuary following heavy rainstorms.