Tidal energy may become one of the best sources of renewable energy.
Most people are already quite familiar with solar energy and wind energy, but not a lot of people are aware that the moon could also be used to gather renewable energy by harnessing tidal energy.
Tidal energy, a form of hydropower that converts the energy of tides into usable power or electricity, is not as widely used as solar and wind energy, but has great potential to be a source of renewable energy.
The gravity of the moon causes whole oceans to move – which is why the seas experience low tides and high tides. The moon’s gravity helps in moving a large amount of water two times a day and harnessing the energy from that movement can provide a large amount of energy.
Harnessing tidal energy is not a new idea and people have tried it before, but it entailed high capital costs and sites with strong tidal flows. However, as turbine technology and design improved, the costs started to go down and it became more feasible to install tidal power systems.
A post on GE Reports discusses the potential of tidal energy, along with wave energy, as viable commercial power sources.
Mark Baker, a marine renewables business manager at GE Power Conversion, stated that “tides are the perfect source of energy, more predictable and reliable than wind or solar power.” According to him, some locations in the UK have significant tidal head ranges and the energy generation potential in those locations are high. That’s probably why GE Power Conversion is testing tidal turbine generators and other underwater technology in turbines installed on the sea floor near the Orkneys in Scotland and at Ramsey Sound in Wales.
Baker also said that GE is prepared to scale it up to a system of tidal turbines that are planned for the bottom of the Pentland Firth channel, which separates the Orkneys from the northern tip of Scotland. The Pentland Firth project reportedly has the potential of supplying almost half of the electricity needs of Scotland.
Watch the clip below for a little bit more about GE’s tidal energy work in Scotland.