For those unfamiliar with tidal energy, it’s a renewable energy source produced from ocean water surges as tides rise and fall.
Energy production from the ocean is a relatively new concept – only three commercial-sized power plants using tidal power exist in the world – but as research continues into this field, five primary advantages of tidal energy have been identified. They are as follows:
Higher Efficiency Than You Might Expect
Tidal power turbines have 80% efficiency when it comes to converting tidal energy into electricity. It’s considerably higher than the efficiency of wind or solar energy generators. In fact, the efficiency is even better than your car engine (see below).
A car engine is only about 30% efficient when it comes to converting fuel in your gas tank to energy that is applied on the road!
Tide Energy is Predictable
Tide patterns are predictable, and this fact gives tidal energy an edge over other sources. We are able to predict when the tides will be out or in, as tidal patterns are more cyclic than the intermittent nature of solar and wind energy. The use of tidal power can result in a more reliable and uniform electricity supply than other options.
Tidal power is a renewable energy source, so unlike fossil fuels, it will never be depleted. Tidal forces originate with the gravitational interaction of the sun and moon, so we will be able to take advantage of tidal power as long as these bodies continue to exist. Tidal energy is also free and does not cause pollution, and no waste products or carbon emissions are produced.
Low Maintenance Costs
While the startup costs associated with building a tidal energy facility are a significant barrier to entry, annual maintenance costs are low. The high initial costs sometimes cause investors to avoid putting money into this energy source, but after a few years, profits will be achieved from the facility.
Tidal energy plants are known for having a long lifespan. A tidal barrage is expected to have a lifespan of up to 100 years, longer than the expected lifespan of nuclear power plants. Therefore, the overall life cycle cost of one of a tidal energy plant is expected to be quite low.
Of course, more research is needed into the ecological impact of tidal energy before it becomes widespread, but it’s inevitable that more and more people will be doing the wave.
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