What Is Tidal Energy?
Tidal energy is a new and exciting form of hydropower that converts energy received from tides into different forms of energy, including electricity. Since its development in the 20th century, tidal energy is one of the newer forms of renewable energy that is currently being heavily researched because of the countless advantages it can have for us in the future.
Current technological developments and improvements for tidal energy have made it recently known that tidal energy can produce power much higher than previously assumed. Making the current state and future of tidal energy to be economical and environmentally better than other forms of energy.
Countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Australia, and South Korea are leading the way with tidal energy because of the potential behind it. Today, a lot of the advantages of tidal energy are already known, despite it being in the early stages of development. However, once tidal energy becomes more of a common energy source in the world, the potential list of advantages it has compared to other energy sources is endless.
What Are Tidal Energy Advantages?
Tidal Energy is Renewable
One of the main needs of energy today is the need for renewable energy sources because of the negative environmental component fossil fuels have on our planet. Tidal energy is a renewable energy and has so far shown to not be negative on the environment. It is 100-percent renewable, and is one of the newest forms of renewable energy.
Tidal energy gets its energy from gravitational fields from the sun and moon, which combined with the Earth’s rotation around its axis, causes high and low tides. The reason tidal energy is renewable is because unlike fossil fuels, the energy from the gravitational fields of the sun and moon, and Earth’s rotation around its axis, won’t be going away any time soon.
Tidal Energy Environmentally Friendly
Since tidal energy is renewable, it is an environmentally friendly source. Unlike fossil fuels, it doesn’t emit any climate gases and it takes up very little space. Tidal energy also has no waste products, and no impact on the shoreline. Despite what you might think, there is no noise pollution under or above water with tidal energy.
Even areas with tidal energy are still potentially navigable while machines are on the seabed. The main need for renewable energies today is because of the general consensus throughout the world that we need to take better care of our plant. Tidal energy is one of those renewable energies that has virtually no negative effects on the environment.
Tidal Energy is Easy to Predict
Because tidal energy relies on tides for its energy source, it is very easy to document how much energy it’ll generate throughout the year since tides are predictable. Currents operate around 20 hours a day, which makes the load factor of tidal energy twice as much as wind turbines.
This fact makes tidal energy more desirable than other renewable energies like solar or wind. You can predict the potential of a tidal energy source throughout a year very easily. Not many energy sources are as easily predictable as tidal energy.
Tidal Energy has a Long Lifespan
The estimated lifespan of a tidal energy plant is about 75-100 years, which is considerably longer than other energy plants. One of the first tidal energy plants was built in France in 1966, and the plant continues to produce larges amounts of electricity.
Since technology continues to evolve and get better every single day, the potential lifespan of a tidal energy plant is incredible.
The fact that a plant from the 1960s continues to go just as strong as it did when it was first built is quite remarkable. Just like we imagine the future of electric cars and electric airplanes, the potential of tidal energy is mainly remarkable because of the potential surrounding its longevity.
Having an energy source that could take 100s of years for any sort of maintenance would be an incredible commodity for humanity.
Tidal Energy is Still Effective at Low Speeds
Even though one might assume that tidal energy is only effective at high speeds, tidal energy is just as effective at low speeds. Unlike wind power, water is 1000 times higher in air density than air. Meaning tidal energy can produce numbers at low speeds that wind power cannot.
Since tidal energy is effective no matter the speed, there isn’t any stress factor with relying on nature to produce our energy for us. The energy is a natural occurrence that will happen no matter the circumstances surrounding it.
Longevity of Equipment
Once a tidal energy plant is created, the maintenance of the plant is next to nothing. There isn’t a possibility of a catastrophic event like there is with nuclear energy. The technology of tidal energy isn’t overly complex like the technology and machinery required to refine fossil fuels.
Tidal Energy has Low Operational Costs
Although a tidal energy plant is expensive upon the initial construction, the cost after the fact is very little. Since the longevity of a tidal energy plant is very high, the benefit outweighs the negative after several years. Being that tidal energy is still a relatively new concept, experts think tidal energy will be commercially profit by 2020 once investment for it picks up.
People realize the potential of tidal energy, and understand that just like anything else, you need to put money into it before it becomes what you want it to become. Governments all around the world realize the potential for low operational costs for tidal energy, and have began to research it more heavily.
Experts claim that the current state of tidal energy could make up as much 12-percent of a country’s energy mix. Meaning that as the technology gets better for tidal energy, it has the potential to produce more energy at a lower cost, which makes it attractive to countries looking into renewable energy sources.
Tidal Energy Lowers the Need for Foreign Importation of Fuel
Instead of relying on fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas, tidal energy can be used to displace electricity instead. Countries who rely on the importation of oil like the United States, China, or Canada can decrease how much they spend on oil, by implementing more renewable energy sources such as tidal energy for their country.
As noted before, countries like South Korea, and the United Kingdom have already begun an investment toward tidal energy. Not only do the countries know about the environmental positives of tidal energy, but they know how much tidal energy can save them in importation of oil.
Tidal Energy Protects coasts
Since tidal energy uses small dams and barrages to harness energy, the dams and barrages actually act as protection for ship ports and coastal areas from tides during storms and bad weather conditions. Think of the plants as walls that not only power us through 100-percent renewable energy, but can also protect us. It’s quite remarkable.
Even though this seems like something not a lot of people will recognize when talking about energy sources, it’s a random benefit of tidal energy that most other energy sources can’t say they do. That fact that tidal energy is not only environmentally friendly, but has the potential to help us against storms and bad weather conditions is incredible.
New and Exciting
The fact that tidal energy is such new form of renewable energy is extremely exciting. The possibilities for tidal energy are endless. As we see the evolution of technology enfold, tidal energy will become more efficient, durable, and cheaper than it already is. As tidal energy becomes more popular throughout the world, it’ll be known around the world how effective it truly is.
This will happen because of our need to reduce our dependence on finite and polluting fossil fuels. Considering that tidal energy is still in its pre-commercial phase, the list of advantages for tidal energy will continue to grow.
A great component of tidal energy is that there are different variations of tidal energy plants. This is an advantage because it means that tidal energy technology is competitive, meaning that competition for producing the best tidal energy solution will create the best possible scenario for tidal energy.
In conclusion, tidal energy is still in the early stages of it. We truly don’t know all of the tidal energy advantages. We know the potential of it, and the advantages I listed above, but tidal energy can end up creating advantages for renewable energy that we don’t know about. Tidal energy and hydropower electricity are an important aspect of our technological future.
Think of tidal energy as the original cellphone. We all knew about the advantages of having a cellular device such as the need to call someone. Then texting came along, and it became a game changer for everyone. Eventually, we got the first touch screen phone with the capability to do basically anything. Tidal energy has that much potential behind it, and as our need for renewable energy increases, the investment toward tidal energy will grow.