Wednesday, February 22, 2017

UK Tidal Project Could Spark Global Revolution

The UK is poised to exploit tidal energy, a new renewable source that is cheaper than nuclear and more reliable than wind.

 The proposed tidal lagoon would enclose Swansea Bay with a rock wall incorporating 16 turbines and generating 320MW of electricity. (Image Credit: Tidal Lagoon Power) Click to Enlarge.
Ambitious plans have been drawn up for a network of “tidal lagoons” around the UK coast that could provide up to a quarter of the country’s electricity – and there is potential to roll out the technology in many parts of the world.

Tidal lagoons work by using a wall to capture a body of water in the sea or a tidal estuary pushed in on the rising tide.  The water drives turbines as the tide comes in, and then, as the tide falls, the turbines are reversed and the energy from the falling tide is harnessed again.

As Geoffrey Chaucer, one of the earliest English poets put it: “Time and tide wait for no man.” Unlike with wind and solar, the amount of energy being produced from tides is predictable months in advance and is now being recognized as a major renewable resource.

More tidal lagoons
Planning approval has already been given for a £1.3bn ($1.62bn) pathfinder project at Swansea Bay, south Wales, described by developers as “a scalable blueprint for a new, global, low-carbon power industry”.  Another nine lagoons are planned around tidal hotspots in the Severn estuary and north-west England/north Wales.  These would have the potential to generate 25,000MW of electricity – enough to provide 12% of the UK’s electricity needs.

The company behind the proposals, Tidal Lagoon Power, already has teams working in northern France and India, and is studying opportunities in Mexico and Canada’s Atlantic coast.  Further tidal lagoon markets may exist in South America, China, south-east Asia and Oceania.

Read more at UK Tidal Project Could Spark Global Revolution

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