Tidal energy is a fantastic form of hydropower that converts energy from the tides. Tidal energy is in the early stages of development in comparison to fossil fuels. It is one of the most viable methods of electricity generation to the communities living around the coastal area.
It only requires a tidal turbine, steam generator, or a more innovative dynamic tidal power (DTP) technology to turn kinetic energy into electricity. Tidal power is considered as an eco-friendly, and green energy source that emits zero greenhouse gases.
Scientists have long recognized the potential to capture a high amount of clean and free energy from these tides by using spin turbines to produce electricity.
This renewable energy source is quite different from other forms of renewable energy. Unlike solar and wind, tidal energy is very reliable and predictable. Often, the weather can severely affect the efficiency of many eco-friendly power solutions.
While checking the records, the history of tidal energy starts from 900A. D, where the energy of tidal movement was used to grind the grains. Similarly, the first modern commercial tidal power was installed in St.Malo, France, in 1965.
It has been operating continuously and produces 240 MW with every tide. The largest tidal project in the world is the Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station in South Korea, with an installed capacity of 254MW, established in 2011.
It is developed to use tidal movement to generate electricity in areas where there is a significant tidal range, the difference in area between high tide and low tide. All methods use individual generators to convert tidal energy into electricity.
Pros and Cons of Tidal Energy
The construction of tidal power stations costs high, and further, it has not been entirely determined the real effect of tidal power in the environment.
Here are some tidal energy pros and cons that must not be overlooked.
Pros of Tidal Energy
Tidal Energy is a renewable form of energy that converts the rise and fall of tides into electricity. It is a result of the gravitational fields from the moon and sun, combined with the earth’s rotation and results in high and low tides. This clean and renewable source of energy is one of the best sustainable resources available in today’s world.
It does not create any pollution and does not require much physical space compared to other renewable energy. So, tidal energy is endlessly renewable as long as there is an ocean, tidal energy will continue to provide electricity.
Predictable and Reliable
The currents of tidal energy are highly predictable. Most areas experience both high and low tides per day. This cycle makes it easier to construct the system in the right dimensions, unlike many other renewable resources. Some of the systems harvest energy from tidal currents regardless of which direction it is flowing and allowing the production of energy to go uninterrupted.
There is no reason to believe that tidal power plants are not long-lived. This ultimately reduces the cost these power plants can sell their electricity, making tidal energy more cost-competitive. The tidal barrage power plant La Rance was established in 1966 and still generates large amounts of electricity.
Tidal energy systems are inherently age-resistant and have long lifespans. The average estimate for most tidal systems is about 75-100 years of use. In comparison to the solar panel usually degrades after an average of 25-30 years. Once it gets implemented it converses time, energy, and money.
Cons of Tidal Energy
The construction of tidal generators under the sea might be beneficial and convenient for human beings, but this can’t go the same to aquatic animals. As the systems require turbulent water to generate electricity, a broad foundation needs to be built.
Thus, the tidal barrages will manipulate the ocean levels and also pose different environmental effects of hydroelectric dams. No doubt that underwater construction can result in habitat destruction.
Generating electricity from tidal energy is a relatively new form of technology and not yet commercially profitable. The construction of tidal power plants costs very high and requires expenses to further maintenance.
There are only a few numbers of commercial tidal energy plants operating in the world. It is projected that within a year, the tidal power will be commercially profitable with better technology and large scales.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that tidal power plants required appropriate sites to build that must meet specific requirements. It is also important to construct tidal power plants close to land.
A site must have a tidal range of at least 7 meters. New technology also limits the suitable geographic location of tidal energy plants. The tidal power can be captured around a 10 hours cycle per day.
The tidal power plant is more expensive to build and maintain than other renewable energy, but it is more reliable and produces more energy. It is needed to study more about what best ways this resource can be used with minimal environmental harm. It produces a clean and pollution-free energy that might be the best power plant in the future.