Is Tidal Energy a Future Power Source?

In 2021, the generation capacity for wind and solar power is on the rise on the entire planet because almost all the countries are trying to produce at least a small percents of their power from renewables.


While wind and solar are gaining the momentum, there is still plenty of room for growth in the hydroelectric and tidal sector where water still represents a continuous source of clean electricity.


Hydroelectric power is one of the oldest forms of renewable energy available on the planet, but tidal power is more recent.


How popular is Tidal Power?


Being a pretty new form of energy, tidal power accounts for less than 1 percent in the energy mix of the planet, mostly because the current technology used to turn the kinetic energy of the sea currents in electric energy, requires a difference between the high and low tide of at least 5 meters.


Tidal power is another form of hydroenergy


Requiring only the presence of the tides created by the gravitational forces of the Moon, the Sun and our planet, tidal energy is considered a future source of clean electricity for mankind.


IsTidal Energy Harmful for the Environment?


Hydroenergy is known for its impact on the environment in areas where large dams have been built to feed the local hydroelectric power plants.


Working underwater, tidal turbines do not require the construction of a massive dam or the diversion of rivers, and this is the reason why these turbines have a reduced impact on the environment.


A tidal turbine works more like a wind turbine, but is smaller and more robust because is facing strong underwater sea currents.


While the tidal turbine spins underwater, sealife is not affected and can't be caught between the propeller blades because the latest tidal technology proposes the use of tidal turbines with a massive hole in the moddle of the propeller.


These tidal turbines use the central hole as an escape channel for the sea life that enters there, and this way, the turbine produces energy day and night without harming the marine life.


A tidal turbine using the same escape channel for sealife has been already installed in Nova Scotia, Canada.


Tidal Power in the U.S.


The Roosvelt Island Tidal Energy Project (RITE) has been installed in the east channel of the New York's east river in 2002.


Currently is in it's third phase of testing that includes a commercial pilot scale build out.


Once finished, the RITE project will occupy an area if 21.6 acres, and will become the world's first grid connected tidal power plant.


New York has several sources of tidal energy available


Overall, the New York state has the potential to generate between 500MW and 1GW of clean power using only the kinetic energy of the underwater currents.


Final thoughts


Being a predictable source of renewable energy, tidal energy is considered a future power source for mankind, but currently we still have to improve the technology (protect underwater life better), and reduce the instalation costs of the turbines.

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