Russians bid to build tidal power barrier across Strangford Lough
A Russian energy company has come up with a plan to build a dam – with a road on top – linking both sides of Strangford Lough.
The incredible tidal power plant proposal would link the Ards Peninsula and Strangford, despite the scenic stretch being one of the most important European marine sites.
The tide at Strangford is one of the most powerful in the world and can move at 13ft per second.
There is already a tidal turbine generator in the lough which can produce enough electricity to power thousands of homes.
The 250MW construction at the mouth of the lough would produce 1115GWh of green energy a year and could be a "famous attraction", according to Martex Invest Ltd.
Based on the Kisloguskaya scheme in Russia, the company's chief executive Vladlen Lunin has written to Down District Council asking for an opportunity to outline their plans.
On Wednesday evening a council committee meeting agreed to hear him out.
"The construction of the Strangford tidal power plant will boost the economy of the Co Down and facilitate the expansion of its transport infrastructure," said Mr Lunin in a letter.
"An increase in fish and marine life resources by 10 to 12% is also expected judging by the experience gained through the operation of the Kisloguskaya tidal power plant.
"Several thousand new jobs will be created during construction, a new significant tax payer will emerge and more than £450m will flow into the economies of the Co Down and Ulster."
Mr Lunin said the construction would be the world's first combined tidal and wave power plant.
"It is well known that second in popularity with tourists after the Eiffel Tower site is the Rance tidal power plant in France, visited by up to 200,000 tourists a year.
"It is quite realistic to expect that something similar will happen with the Strangford tidal power plant.
"The Strangford tidal power plant's dam will be equipped with a number of sluices sufficient for the migration of fish and marine animals.
"In addition, a road is to be constructed on the dam that will connect the existing Killard and Ballyquintin Roads, improving transport," he said.