Renewable energy is a booming topic today. Not only does it help cut costs on electricity and gas, but it also allows us to diversify our energy supplies instead of relying on imported fuels. Thus, finding energy from natural resources is more prevalent and necessary than ever.
Though tidal power, or tidal energy, is a relatively new source for renewable energy, there are several plants already operating along coastal areas across the globe. The first and largest plant was the La Rance Tidal Power Station in Brittany, France. It has generated about 500 GWh annually. Their size and power were later surpassed by the Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station in South Korea that has created 552.7 GWh annually; it is still currently the largest tidal plant today.
There are many benefits of tidal power that illustrate its potential as a reliable source of renewable energy for our future. Before delving into the benefits, it’s important to first understand what tidal energy is and how it works.
Tidal energy, or tidal power, is renewable energy that is created by predictable movements of tides. Tides are caused by the moon and the sun’s gravitational influence on the ocean. The low and high tides from coastal areas generate currents strong enough to drive technologies such as turbines and barrages. These machines convert the movement of water to produce electricity.
How Does Tidal Energy Work?
As long as Earth rotates and the moon orbits, ocean tides and currents will create tidal energy. Not only is it renewable, but it’s a reliable source of energy. It carries enough power to bring us electricity for our homes and cities. So exactly where and when is it used?
Where It’s Used
The tidal power plants that are operating today lie along coastal areas in order to harness tides. In addition to France and South Korea, there are several other tidal power plants in countries such as:
- Canada — Annapolis Royal Generating Station (installed capacity of 20MW)
- China — Jiangxia Power Plant (installed capacity of 4.1 MW)
- Russia — Kislaya Guba Tidal Power Station (installed capacity of 1.7MW)
- Scotland — MeyGen Tidal Energy Project (installed capacity of 86 MW)
When It’s Used
As a relatively new source for electricity generation, tidal energy is not yet widely being used. The plants are operating mostly for research and experimental purposes. Though there are not many companies investing in tidal energy yet, it certainly has the potential for future electricity generation.
Benefits of Tidal Power
There are many benefits of tidal power that reflect the hope and potential that it can bring to the current issues we face with energy today. By using tidal energy, we can not only reduce electricity costs, but also foreign fuel importation. It’s an innovative and natural source that promises a future of clean energy.
- Renewable And Reliable
Tidal energy is clean and harnesses the power of nature. As mentioned earlier, as long as Earth rotates and the moon orbits, the ocean will create tides. While unpredictable weather can easily delay the production of wind and solar power, the constant movement of tides makes tidal power the most reliable renewable energy source.
- Predictable And Consistent
Because sea currents are consistent and highly predictable, not only do you have the opportunity to plan for the long term, but also to understand the exact dimension of the currents to construct accurate tidal systems.
- Environmentally Friendly
Unlike fossil fuels, tidal energy doesn’t emit any pollutants. It also does not take up a lot of space. For example, the Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station was built along a 12.5 km long seawall. Compare this to one of the largest solar farms, Pavagada Solar Park in India, that covers about 53 square kilometers of five villages.
- Highly Effective
Water carries a very high density compared to air. Thus, you’re able to produce a lot of electricity with very little water movement and speed. Small efforts bring huge rewards.
- Easy and Flexible Maintenance
Compared to the complexities involved in fossil fuel machinery, the tidal power system is cheap to maintain, as the technology involved is minimal.
Contact Kiwi Energy to learn more about tidal energy and its benefits. As an energy retailer, we are dedicated to reducing carbon footprint, focusing on environmentally conscious products, and offering friendly and efficient customer service.