Tidal power, also called tidal energy, is a form of hydropower that
converts the energy of tides into useful forms of power - mainly
electricity. The world's first large-scale tidal power plant (the
Rance Tidal Power Station) became operational in 1966.
- Tidal power is extracted from the Earth's
oceanic tides; tidal forces are periodic variations in gravitational
attraction exerted by celestial bodies. These forces create
corresponding motions or currents in the world's oceans.
- Tidal power is the only technology that
draws on energy inherent in the orbital characteristics of the
Earth–Moon system, and to a lesser extent in the Earth–Sun system.
Other natural energies exploited by human technology originate
directly or indirectly with the Sun, including fossil fuel,
conventional hydroelectric, wind, biofuel, wave and solar energy.
- Tidal stream generators (or TSGs) make use
of the kinetic energy of moving water to power turbines, in a
similar way to wind turbines that use wind to power turbines.
- Tidal barrages make use of the potential
energy in the difference in height (or head) between high and low
tides. Barrages are essentially dams across the full width of a
- Gravitational forces between the moon, the
sun and the earth cause the rhythmic rising and lowering of ocean
waters around the world that results in Tide Waves. The energy of
the tide wave contains two components, namely, potential and
- A serious issue that must be addressed is
how and where to use the electric power generated by extracting
energy from the tides. Tides are cyclical by their nature, and the
corresponding power output of a tidal power plant does not always
coincide with the peak of human activity.
- Tides play a very important role in the
formation of global climate as well as the ecosystems for ocean
habitants. At the same time, tides are a substantial potential
source of clean renewable energy for future human generations.
- Recent years shows the UK has 3.4MW of
installed marine energy capacity (an almost 50% rise in the past
year8) with a total of 7.4MW of prototypes in advanced stages of
planning and fabrication for deployment, representing a potential
- Marine energy is
also a priority for development in the UK. The UK is a natural place
from which to develop marine energy and we are lucky to have such a
uniquely rich wave and tidal resource. The world’s first full-scale
wave and tidal stream devices are British innovations.
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