Tidal Energy

Strangford Lough tidal plant – created in 2007

The concept of renewable energy is one that almost everyone knows about. For most people however, this means wind, solar, or hydroelectric. So, what exactly is tidal energy, and why do many people not know what it really is? Let me start with the second question. Right now, there are only two commercial sized tidal energy plants and one experimental plant, IN THE WORLD. And none of these are even in the United Sates. This is because many people feel that tidal energy is too expensive with not enough room for profit, and that it poses too many environmental issues right now. Also there are very few locations throughout the world that meet the requirements for tidal energy plants. Scientists are currently working to solve these issues, but until tidal energy becomes more affordable, produces more energy, lessens its environmental impact, and the U.S. resolves its underwater land ownerships problems, it will most likely remain out of the picture. There is hope however, because tidal energy does have some pros. Compared to wind energy, tidal energy is more powerful, and unlike wind energy, it is stable and predictable.

So how does it work? The concept is fairly simple. Tidal energy is harnessed using turbines, much like wind turbines except under the sea. Instead of wind propelling the turbines, this process relies on the change of tide.  So, with more research and development in the field of tidal power production, this has the potential to be a great contributor to achieving our goal of renewable energy.

Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland – the site of the first tidal power station




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