Monday, October 15, 2012

Tidal power advantages and disadvantages

Tidal power is yet to attract significant renewable energy investment, even despite having good potential in many areas around the world. Throughout this article I will mention the most important advantages and disadvantages of tidal power.

Tidal power advantages:

Tidal power belongs to renewable energy sources meaning it cannot be depleted like fossil fuels can. Tidal forces have their origin in the gravitational interaction with the Moon and Sun, meaning that we could harness tidal power as long as Moon and Sun continue to exist.

The efficiency of tidal power. Tidal power belongs to the most efficient energy sources by having efficiency of approximately 80%, this is much better efficiency as compared to other more popular renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

Tides are predictable, and this predictability is also one of the advantages that tidal power has over other energy sources because rise and fall of tides are much more cyclic than random weather patterns. This predictability gives us knowledge when the tides will be in and out. 

Harnessing tidal power has positive impact on climate change because it produces no greenhouse gas emissions. 

Tides are predictable.

Harnessing tidal power on larger scale could even lead to reduced import of foreign fuels and improve our energy security because we wouldn't have to rely so much on expensive foreign fuel import to satisfy our growing energy demand.

Barrages and small dams used to harness tidal power could protect coastal areas or ship ports from dangerous tides during a stormy weather

Tidal power disadvantages: 

Tidal power plants are connected with high upfront costs needed for construction, and therefore lack cost-competitiveness on global energy market. 

Tidal power is intermittent source of energy that can only produce electricity during tidal surges which is in average around 10 hours each day. This means that in order for tidal power to be considered as a reliable source of energy needs to be accompanied with some effective energy storage solution.

Tidal power plants could lead to environmental damage in some cases as the frames of the turbines have potential to disrupt the movement of large marine animals. Also, the construction of tidal power plant can disrupt fish migration in the oceans.

Still more a theoretic source of energy, limited in real life to just a few prototype projects because technology has just started developing and needs big funds and plenty of scientific research before reaching the commercial character.


Maria December 24, 2012 at 6:23 AM  

Disadvantages of tidal power machines are pretty similar to other renewable energy sources and facilities!