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Proposed North Sea container terminal powered by tidal energy


It would be a world first. UK-based developer Centre Port Holdings has announced plans to build a container terminal powered by tidal energy, with a 2028 target date.

With a capacity of up to 4 million TEUs, the facility would be located at the entrance to The Wash, a large bay on England’s central North Sea coast.

“Centre Port provides multiple business opportunities and a lower/zero carbon operation across the import/export chain, whilst also being 50 percent nearer the East and West Midlands it serves,” said CEO James Sutcliffe, a ports industry veteran who led the DCT Gdansk project in Poland. “Our mission is to retain the Wash boundaries, its wild life and ecology and to minimize climate change impacts that could devastate these sensitive areas.”It would be built in the middle of a flood-defense seawall, or tidal barrage, which would span the bay’s entire 11-mile-wide entrance. The barrier would incorporate 15 tidal power turbines capable of generating enough energy for 600,000 homes.

Centre Port Holdings has partnered with leading UK energy company Centrica to study the feasibility of the tidal-power element of the plan. Centrica has invested in a seed round to help underwrite the cost of the studies, and it would provide a guaranteed price for the energy generated by the project. Some of the off-peak power could be diverted for use in making green hydrogen. 

The project would create 1,000 jobs during construction, according to Centre Port, and would create employment opportunity in manufacturing, maritime transport, port operations and other supporting industries. The tidal barrage would also protect about one million people around the periphery of the bay from flooding.

The container terminal would have a rail facility connecting with a nearby rail line, which would carry up to 40 percent of the container traffic. A road built atop the tidal barrage would connect to the terminal and speed up the highway connection between Lincolnshire and Norfolk – cities which are presently linked by a single, often-congested highway.

(Images from Centre Port Holdings)