Never Underestimate The Influence Of Tidal Power

Tidal power or tidal energy is harnessed by converting energy from tides into useful forms of power, mainly electricity using various methods. Although not yet widely used, tidal energy has the potential for future electricity generation.

Tides are more predictable than the wind and the sun. Among sources of renewable energy, tidal energy has traditionally suffered from relatively high cost and limited availability of sites with sufficiently high tidal ranges or flow velocities, thus constricting its total availability.

However, many recent technological developments and improvements, both in design (e.g. dynamic tidal power, tidal lagoons) and turbine technology (e.g. new axial turbines, cross-flow turbines), indicate that the total availability of tidal power may be much higher than previously assumed and that economic and environmental costs may be brought down to competitive levels.

Historically, tide mills have been used both in Europe and on the Atlantic coast of North America. The incoming water was contained in large storage ponds, and as the tide goes out, it turns waterwheels that use the mechanical power to produce mill grain. The earliest occurrences date from the Middle Ages, or even from Roman times.

The process of using falling water and spinning turbines to create electricity was introduced in the U.S. and Europe in the 19th century. Electricity generation from marine technologies increased an estimated 16% in 2018 and an estimated 13% in 2019.

Policies promoting R&D are needed to achieve further cost reductions and large-scale development. The world's first large-scale tidal power plant was the Rance Tidal Power Station in France, which became operational in 1966. It was the largest tidal power station in terms of output until Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station opened in South Korea in August 2011.

The Sihwa station uses sea wall defence barriers complete with 10 turbines generating 254 MW.