Tidal energy is a type of hydropower that depends on the kinetic energy in the tides to create energy, mostly for electricity. It works by taking advantage of the rising and falling of the tides. During high tide, the rising water spins turbines and as the tide goes out the turbines spin again and collect the kinetic energy from the water. Currently, the Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station in South Korea is the largest tidal power installation. The Sihwa plant has a total power output capacity of 245 MW. Because collecting tidal energy depends on the gravitational pull between the earth and moon, it is a renewable energy and will not run out.
Tidal energy, however, has many downfalls. The equipment is very expensive initially, although it can be installed on already-present buildings in the water such as bridges. Another downside is its possible negative affect on marine life. Fish and animals may get stuck in the turbines, or they could also be affected by the noise generated by the turbines, if they depend on echo-location. However, this does not affect the entire water supply, just in the proximity of the equipment.
Although tidal energy is not going to be our primary energy source anytime soon, technological advances may make the economical and ecological cost go down soon. Tidal energy may be worth the investment of research because tides are more constant and predictable than other alternative renewable energy sources such as solar or wind energy.
This is interesting. You do an excellent job highlighting the dichotomy between the power that can be generated via the currents, the renewable status of tidal energy, and yet the potential environment downfalls and high costs. While I think this technology will still be invested in and progressed in the future, significant more research will needed to be conducted in order to reduce their cost.
This is really important, because a number of other alternative sources are dependent upon certain conditions in order to generate any energy. The tidal/gravitational forces of the Earth and moon are constant, and not subject to change on a daily basis. While you note the ecological and economic downsides, I definitely think more research and development should be paid to tidal energy.
Adjustments can be made to reduce the ecological and economic impact. You can’t make the wind blow, or the sun shine.
I agree with you that tidal energy is worth more investment. Given the information that you provided, it seems to me that tidal energy is in it’s initial state especially when taking into consideration all of the negatives. If marine life is injured by the technology, I would assume that creators would cease implementing the current structure of the turbines to ensure aquatic life’s safety.
I am really glad I was able to read about this. I knew nothing about tidal energy before reading your post — it was super informative. I think you’re right — though solar and wind are great renewable energy alternatives, I think it is important that we invest in research to gain a more predictable sustainable resource.