Tidal Power

As you read this the world’s “first commercial scale system for generating electricity from marine currents” is being installed near the mouth of Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough. It could lead to the UK getting a fifth of our electricity from tidal and wave energy. SeaGen will have a capacity of 1.2 megawatts and it is hoped the turbines will turn slowly enough for most animals to avoid.

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One Response to Tidal Power

  1. matt says:

    Here we finally have British inventiveness being harnessed on these shores (literally!) instead of going off overseas. The tide is turning for these renewable energy technologies and the UK will see manufacturing return here too. Fantastic.

    Highlights from your linked article for me are;

    * Some 24 technologies, at various stages of research and development, have been put forward for exploiting tidal currents

    * Professor Stephen Salter of Edinburgh University, one of Britain’s leading marine energy experts, estimates that the Pentland Firth alone could generate up to a quarter of Britain’s electricity – more than is now being provided by all the country’s nuclear power stations – making the channel between Orkney and the north Scottish mainland “the Saudi Arabia of marine energy.”

    Martin Wright, managing director of Marine Current Turbines, calls the firth, the “Mount Everest” of the industry, and describes its tidal currents as “the equivalent of an underwater hurricane”. Every second, about 2.5 million cubic metres of water – enough to fill 1,000 Olympic swimming pools – passes at a speed of up to 12 knots across a line traced across the Firth.

    This is just the biggest of a host of potential sites, usually where the tides are speeded up by being squeezed through narrow channels, forming one of the most intense resources provided by any form of renewable energy. In all, the Government estimates, Britain has about half of all Europe’s such “tidal stream” potential and between 10 and 15 per cent of what has been identified worldwide, making it uniquely blessed.

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