tidal energy

joel herron

Moderator
We live on one of the highest tidal systems in the world. twice a day the moon and the sun move our coast up and down, up and down.
How can we utilise this without damaging wildlife or ecosystems to generate power?
How much power could be generated?
Could our rivers also be used to generate power?
 

Chris.Hassall.

New member
We live on one of the highest tidal systems in the world. twice a day the moon and the sun move our coast up and down, up and down.
How can we utilise this without damaging wildlife or ecosystems to generate power?
How much power could be generated?
Could our rivers also be used to generate power?
Our rivers could be used, but only very limited amounts of power could be produced without serious ecological damage.
In previous centuries watermills were an essential power source mainly for grinding corn. The Bideford Yeo for example has the remains of weirs and mills every half mile or so upstream from the tidal limit, but they were all eventually abandoned when oil engines and mains electricity provided more reliable and convenient power.
There were also tide mills alongside the estuary, one of which I believe was close to Tapeley where there is a lagoon beside the main road. The small and intermittent amount of electricity that could be produced would not be worth while these days. Any large-scale scheme such as the Swansea Lagoon proposal would have severe environmental and ecological ill effects.
An opportunity was missed a few years ago when the tidal sluice in the bank around Horsey Island on the Taw estuary began to fail. A hydro generator of significant size could have been installed at that point, with no harm to wildlife, merely the loss of grazing land on Horsey Marshes. However no action was taken and the failed sluice allowed the whole bank to be eroded, the grazing marshes now becoming saltmarsh and mud-flats. It is now a valuable wildlife reserve, supporting spoonbills and even visiting pelicans. It could with some foresight have also produced a useful amount of electricity alongside its wildlife benefits.
Some of the best ideas are based on floating devices producing power from off-shore wave motion or rise and fall, but at present commercial interest is centred on wind and solar power because they attract heavy subsidy payments and are quick and cheap to develop.
Chris H.
 

Woodborough

New member
The tide is one of the few reliable sources of green energy. Capital costs for tidal energy schemes are very high, but maintenance costs are low. I think there are places (excluding river estuaries, where tidal barrages can do huge damage to estuarine wildlife) where there are strong tidal currents, where turbines could be positioned. There is an up to date and informative article here: https://www.greenmatch.co.uk/blog/2016/10/tidal-and-wind-energy-in-the-uk
 

joel herron

Moderator
I think that tidal barrages are out the window as they do too much ecological damage. Wind and solar are sponsored by the big oil and gas companies. People are scared of tidal because of the big costs but if you think about it, it has to be the most cost effective in the long term. It is a constant supply. We just need to change the way we think about it. We especially need to change the way that Torridge think about it as they are still looking at a damming report (no pun intended) of a barrage and not at other options. Great article Woodborough. Tidal is so the way forward.
 
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