OpenHydro tidal Energy turbine, Bay of Fundy, Orkney Islands.
OpenHydro tidal turbine, Bay of Fundy, Orkney Islands.

Tidal Energy Pros And Cons 2023

Tidal energy is a form of renewable energy that harnesses the power of the ocean’s tides to generate electricity. While it has the potential to be a sustainable source of energy, like all forms of energy, it has its pros and cons. Here are some of the key advantages and disadvantages of tidal energy:

  • Renewable and sustainable: Tidal energy is a renewable and sustainable source of energy, meaning that it can be continually replenished without depleting any natural resources.
  • Predictable and reliable: Tides are predictable and regular, making tidal energy a reliable source of energy. This predictability can help grid operators better plan and manage their energy resources.
  • No emissions: Tidal energy doesn’t produce any emissions or pollutants, making it a clean energy source that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Low maintenance costs: Once tidal energy infrastructure is in place, it has relatively low maintenance costs compared to other forms of energy generation, such as fossil fuel power plants.
  • Can help to create jobs: The development and construction of tidal energy projects can create jobs in areas such as engineering, construction, and maintenance.
  • High initial costs: The cost of building tidal energy infrastructure can be high, making it a less attractive option for investors and governments.
  • Limited availability: Tidal energy can only be generated in areas where there are large tidal ranges and currents, limiting its availability as a source of energy.
  • Potential impact on marine life: The construction and operation of tidal energy infrastructure can have an impact on marine life, such as fish and sea mammals, which can be affected by the noise and disruption caused by the turbines.
  • Interference with shipping and navigation: Tidal energy infrastructure can interfere with shipping and navigation, potentially causing safety hazards and disrupting the movement of goods.
  • Vulnerability to extreme weather events: Tidal energy infrastructure can be vulnerable to extreme weather events, such as storms and hurricanes, which can damage or destroy turbines and other equipment.

What exactly is tidal energy?

Tidal power is a renewable energy source that converts the energy generated by the ocean’s shifting tides and currents into usable electricity. Tidal power may be harnessed using a variety of methods, including tidal barrages, tidal stream generators, and tidal barriers.

Because all of these tidal energy plants employ tidal turbines, it’s critical to understand how a turbine can collect the kinetic energy inside the tides for energy generation.

Tidal turbines catch tidal energy in the same way as wind turbines do. The running water drives the turbine’s blades as the currents and tides vary. The turbine drives a generator, which generates power.

OpenHydro's tidal turbine deployed in Bay of Fundy in July 2018 (Photo: Cape Sharp Tidal)
OpenHydro’s tidal turbine deployed in Bay of Fundy in July 2018 (Photo: Cape Sharp Tidal)

The Tidal Power Future

Tidal power has enormous potential, especially when new technologies, such as dynamic tidal power, are developed.

There are now less than 10 tidal power stations in operation worldwide. Rance Tidal Power Station and Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station, the two most popular tidal power plants, provide enough tidal energy to power 94,507 households in the United States for a full year. Not only is that a significant quantity of electricity, but it is also dependable and carbon-free.

Nevertheless, tidal power plants can have a significant influence on the local ecology, have large upfront expenditures, and have a limited number of acceptable sites. Maybe, as technology advances, we will be able to harness the energy contained there.

It’s also interesting: What Exactly Are Renewable Resources?

In conclusion

While tidal energy has the potential to be a valuable source of renewable energy, it also has its limitations and drawbacks. The development of tidal energy infrastructure needs to be carefully planned and executed, taking into account its potential impact on the environment, marine life, and other factors, to ensure that it can be a safe and sustainable source of energy for the future.

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