THE tide floods in and out of Poole Harbour twice a day every day and now a plan is being proposed to harness that huge force.

Poole Tidal Energy Partnership is seeking support from the community to bid for a chunk of money to study generating electricity from the tide.

“The energy needs of Poole are significant but this highly predictable source of power is literally on our doorstep,” said Andy Hadley of Transition Town Poole, a group of volunteers leading the bid.

Between 30,400 and 45,000 cubic metres of water enters and leaves the harbour on the tides and while a recent study of tidal power around the coast went across the mouth of the harbour, it did not venture in.

“There are innovative devices out there which can trap some of that energy, balancing alongside the valued leisure, wildlife and commercial activities of Poole,” said Mr Hadley.

But to win a grant from the £500,000 available from Energy Share, which is intended to support community energy projects, the project needs local support and residents are being urged to sign an online petition.

If successful, the second step is to develop as a community interest organisation to generate power to support the local community.

The energy could be used to feed social housing, power street lighting, the hospital or fed into the national grid and suggestions are being sought.

“The harbour is a jewel along the south coast. Loved for boating, wildlife, a commercial port, a holiday destination and surrounded by nature reserves. Any scheme will need to be sensitive to these competing demands,” he said.

Poole Harbour Commissioners say they have not been involved with the project and will consider it at a later stage.

“To be in to win we need as many signatures as possible by June 30. If you use electricity and think we should know what is achievable locally and renewably, it is time to act now,” said Mr Hadley.

More than 40 people have already signed their support to