Governments and private investors alike are
starting to examine the potential of environmentally friendly forms of energy
production, on a mass scale. One such solution is offered by tidal
energy, which falls into two categories: energy
generated either by harnessing the power of tidal currents, or utilising the
differential between high tide and low tide.
Tidal stream systems:
Tidal stream systems are an example of first category. Often they resemble underwater wind turbines and in effect function in the same way, except tidal currents turn the turbines rather than wind. Whilst the installation of Tidal Stream Systems are a considerable civil engineering undertaking they are considered to have less of an environmental impact than the other alternative.
Tidal Barrages consist of a kind dam built across a tidal estuary. As the tide
comes in, water is allowed to flow in to the reservoir created by the dam, but
at high tide a gate is closed, and as the tide falls again the water within the
reservoir is trapped. At low tide, another gate is opened allowing the water to
flow out of the reservoir through turbines. Barrage tidal energy power stations
a huge civil engineering projects, requiring vast amounts of energy and
resources to construct, and with a lasting impact on the local environment, and
yet, once in place they have the potential to go on generating cheap and carbon
neutral energy for generations.