Tidal power, also known as tidal energy, is produced with the use of tidal energy generators. These large underwater turbines are placed in areas with high tidal movements. Also, the ebbing and surging of ocean tides produce kinetic motion which these generators capture and convert into electricity.
Due to the massive size of oceans, tidal power has a great potential for the future of power. That said, they are still not widely used despite being a good source for electricity generation.
Tide mills, which are water mills driven by the rise and fall of tides, have been used in Europe and on the Atlantic coast of North America. The water that came from the sea was stored in large storage ponds which, when the tide went out, would turn waterwheels that used the mechanical power produced to mill grain. Although there are early occurrences of these as early as the Middle Ages and the Roman Times, it was only in the 19th century that using falling water and spinning turbines to create electricity was introduced in the US and Europe.
The first large-scale tidal power plant in the world is the Rance Tidal Power Station in France. It became operational in 1966. With tidal power being an alternative energy source, there comes some pros and cons with regards to its use.
List of Pros of Tidal Power
1. It is a renewable form of energy
Tidal power uses the power of tides and those are seen as more predictable when compared to wind energy and solar power. One of the advantages of this kind of power is that no fuel is required to harness tidal energy unlike fossil fuels and other energy sources. In addition, the resources needed to create tidal energy are not limited – the world’s oceans are quite wide and many.
2. It doesn’t emit anything
The non-use of fuel for generating energy is a plus for the environment. In other words, it provides a positive effect for the world by giving zero emissions. The ozone layer has received so much damage in part to our energy consumption.
3. It is reliable
Unlike other alternative forms of energy, tidal power has unmatched long-term viability. Once a tidal energy plant has been established, it can run up to 100 years in usage. That amount of time is particularly valuable as we continue to seek more useful ways to harness natural resources which benefits the world we live in.
List of Cons of Tidal Power
1. It is expensive
Building anything under water requires resources and they are not easy to come by. It doesn’t just stop with building too as tidal plants need to be maintained as well. So, having one requires a constant supply of financial resources to ensure the plant stays healthy for as long as possible.
2. There is a lack of sites to build tidal plants
While the oceans are vast, a tidal plant just can’t be built anywhere. Since it relies on tides, there are only a few options around the world that offers a high potential for a quality plant. In other words, tidal plants are very location specific.
3. It can impact marine life
Marine life is already endangered as it is, and adding something else to their natural environment might further negatively impact the way they live. Every facet of their life – from feeding to mating – may be disrupted by the presence of such machines.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.