A new report recommends that the UK should be considering utilizing tidal power as a source of electricity. Wave power is recommended over wind power as a renewable energy alternative.
Tidal power, also called tidal energy, is a form of hydropower that converts the energy of tides into electricity.
Based on the UK being an island, surrounded by seas, a new report states that the predictable nature of the tides around the UK’s coastlines should make them an ideal renewable energy source. This recommendation comes from a report published in the journal "Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences."
Although tidal power has a higher set-up cost than wind power, the use of estuary barrages and tidal streams has the potential to provide in excess of 20% of the UK's demand for electricity.
According to the BBC, tidal power can be generated in one of two ways: the first option involves building barrages across tidal estuaries that use the ebb and flow of the waters to turn turbines. Tidal barrages make use of the potential energy in the difference in height (or head) between high and low tides.
The second option planting turbines underwater in fast flowing tidal streams. An example of the former if the Hafren project, a barge that is being developed along the river Severn. Tidal stream generators (or TSGs) make use of the kinetic energy of moving water to power turbines, in a similar way to wind turbines that use wind to power turbines.
The UK government has responded by saying that they are open to review different energy alternatives, although they have not, according to the Guardian, come out in favour of any particular scheme.