Can tidal range electricity generation benefit the UK?
Research from Lancaster University and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has demonstrated the viability of tidal range electricity generation.
Researchers from Lancaster University’s School of Engineering and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology have combined a tidal power range generation model with its cost model, to showcase the possibility of tidal power.
They believe that tidal range schemes are financially viable and could lower energy bills for UK residents.
“THE OBVIOUS QUESTION FOR THE UK, WITH ONE OF THE BEST TIDAL RESOURCES GLOBALLY, IS WHY HAVEN’T WE ALREADY GOT A TIDAL BARRAGE SCHEME?”
The research, ‘Tidal range generation: combining the Lancaster zero-dimension generation and cost models,’ is published in Energy.
The benefits of tidal energy usage in the UK
Tidal energy does not suffer from unpredictable intermittency as power is generated both day and night.
In addition, the creation of a tidal barrage could operate for around 120 years, helping to meet future storage and demand challenges.
Professor Aggidis, Head of Energy Engineering at Lancaster University, said: “There is an urgent need to kick-start the selection and development of schemes around Britain. Tidal range generation is predictable renewable energy driven by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun.
“The environmental and economic benefits are huge as barrages can protect coastal areas from flooding and sea level rise. With two-way generation and pumping, the full range of existing tides can be maintained within impoundments to protect and support low-lying intertidal areas such as saltmarshes and mudflats.
“Our studies show that with modern technology and operating procedures, estuarine barrages are the only practical way to protect these vital habitats. Coastal lagoons have also been proposed for several locations around Britain’s coast.
“Schemes will provide jobs in construction and manufacturing for generations to come as well as opportunities for transport, communication, conservation, and recreation. In the long-term they will provide reliable power with reduced costs.”
The UK has the highest tidal range in the world. This grants the country a level of independence from global prices, and in the long term, cheap, clean power.
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