Tidal Energy is one of the Renewable Energy Sources, RES, and together with the Wave Energy are the two forms of the Ocean Energy Renewable Source. In short, Tidal Energy is the energy captured from the tides in the oceans and seas which are caused by the gravitational forces of the moon, primarily, and of the sun.
Some interesting facts about Tidal Energy are listed below, in order to give the magnitude and capabilities of Tidal Power/ Tidal Energy.
Tidal Energy Facts
- Tidal Energy is the oldest form of renewable energy, which was used in the water mills by the Romans when they occupied England. It was later used for the same purpose, give power to the mills, along the shores of Spain, France and Britain.
- Tidal energy is clean renewable green energy and does not use any fossil fuels, thus has zero CO2 emissions and zero impact to the environment.
- Tidal movement occurs twice a day by the gravitational effect of the moon.
- Tidal power is used mostly for the production of Electricity.
- Tidal Energy can be captured by either exploiting the kinetic energy or the potential energy of the tides. It all depends on the technology and the location used.
- Potential Energy exploitation in the case of Tidal Energy has 80% efficiency which is considered to be high compared to other forms of renewable green energy sources.
- There are currently 3 types of technologies which can be used to capture the power of tides. These technologies are known as Tidal Technologies. These technologies are:
- Tidal Stream Generator
- Tidal Barrage
- Dynamic Tidal Power
- The technology required and used to convert the power of tides into electricity is similar, and in some cases the same, as the technology used in dams and other hydroelectric installations.
Tidal Power Facts
- Not all seashores are suitable for tidal power exploitation. For a place to be suitable for a Tidal Energy installation it should have tidal range of more than 7 meters.
- Tidal power can be captured for a maximum of a 10 hours cycle per day.
- The tidal barrage technology has the disadvantage of affecting the surrounding eco-system and wildlife in the area of the barrage.
- The cost of building a Tidal powered electricity station is high and varies from 1.3million USD per MW to 1.8million USD per MW depending on the location and technology used. This high cost is one of the prohibitive factors of the expansion of tidal power.
- Tidal power installations can provide additional or side benefits to the area of their installation. Such side benefits can be bridges and roads that can be built over the tidal power installations. This was the case in the La Rance installation where a road was built running over the tidal power plant.
- Tidal energy can be considered as a consistent and predictable source, since the tides occur twice a day at consistent pattern.
Tidal Power Plants
- The largest tidal power plant that was built for commercial use is located in Northern France on the estuary of La Rance.
- The first Tidal project in Canada was built in Annapolis Nova Scotia where the highest tides in the world are harnessed to produce electricity. With a capacity of 20 MW the plant can provide electricity to about 4500 homes.
- The first tidal project in the USA, which is connected to the grid is the Cobscook Bay, is the Tidal project in Maine.
- Two other commercial Tidal Power plants are located in the White Sea in Russia and in Jiangxia, China.
- The tides in North West Australia reach a height of 30 feet and this makes the region a potential region of Tidal power plants.
- Scotland is an area where a lot of research and development is done in the two ocean energy subcategories: Wave and Tidal Energy. Scotland invests a lot in these energy sources and the technologies related to them.
- Scotland has currently two large tidal turbines in operation.
- The world’s largest tidal turbine is installed in Scotland.
- The world’s largest tidal energy project will be built in Scotland between two islands. The island of Jura and the island of Islay. The project will have 10 tidal turbines and will be capable of producing 1MW of electricity.
- The SeaGen, tidal energy plant in Ireland, is the first commercial tidal project which has reached the 5 GWh electricity generation mark.
- A new and incredible by many standards Tidal Energy plant is expected to be completed in 2012 off the coast of France in Brittany.
Tidal energy is one of the 5 sources of renewable green energy and it is a renewable source which even though it does not attract much attention due to the large investments needed for a tidal energy plant, it is one of the promising Renewable Energy Sources.