Tidal: Energy Source Fact File!

What is tidal energy? How does tidal energy produce electricity? And what's the cost of tidal energy?

Here’s the need-to-know stuff about the energy source, tidal power!

As the Moon orbits the Earth, its gravity exerts a pulling force on the Earth. Tides are the rising and falling of the world’s oceans caused by this pulling force.

Where can you find tidal power?
Tidal energy can be harnessed wherever there is a strong tidal current. The best locations in the UK are in Scotland and the Severn Estuary. But there are only a few commercial tidal energy plants around the world.

How is it made into electricity?
Tidal energy can be harnessed in two ways. Tidal barrages block an estuary, to force the tidal current through turbines that generate electricity. Tidal Stream generation uses large turbines attached to the seabed. Rather like those used in a wind farm, these have large blades that are made to rotate by the tidal current. This turns a generator to produce electricity.

What are the advantages of using tidal power?

  • It is a renewable source of energy, which means that it will not run out.
  • As an island we have several suitable sites where there is a strong tidal current.
  • The energy source is free once the device is built and installed.
  • No fuel is needed and no waste or emissions are produced.

What are the disadvantages of using coal?

  • Tidal stream power is still under development – it could be 10 years before it is ready to be used on a large scale
  • Tidal stream power is more expensive to install and maintain than other forms of electricity production.
  • Tidal barrages are extremely expensive and can harm the estuary environment.
  • Both barrages and tidal stream plants can cause problems for shipping.

Check out more energy facts here!

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Energy Source Fact Files!

Learn about different types of energy and how they help generate electricity!


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