Tidal Power or Tidal Energy is a form of Hydropower that uses the natural rise and fall of the tides to create energy for electrical generation. Tidal plants can only be installed along coastlines. So, this seems like the rational move to make on our Coastlines in Ireland.
These plants are likened to that of Wind Turbines, except they are underwater. The mechanical energy of the tidal currents turns the turbines connected to a generator to produce electricity. There are currently 3 ways in which Tidal can be harnessed:
- Tidal Barrages
- Tidal Fences
- Tidal Turbines
Due to the tidal patterns being easily understood it makes this a very predictable energy source for Grid Management. There is also no GG Emissions and relatively no environmental impact with this type of renewable energy.
But why are we not currently considering Tidal Energy??
- There is such a high initial cost to construct these plants, along with the added difficulty of repairing damaged equipment.
- Due to the coastal areas being considerably far from inland areas this makes the transfer of electricity harder.
- There is also a need for energy storage capacity to be developed with these plants as tides will not always occur when electricity demand is high.