Tidal energy is part of the group of renewable energies, so its main advantages and disadvantages are partly similar to those of solar or wind energy. In this article we are going to review the main benefits of tidal energy, as well as list possible improvements that could alleviate some of the disadvantages of its use.
What is tidal energy
Tidal energy is that which harnesses the movement of the tides to obtain energy. Although there are several different methods of harnessing tidal power (such as tidal barrages or offshore turbines), they are all characterized by being fully renewable and take advantage of the exploitation of a natural asset: tidal power.
It is an energy that is not very widespread so far, but whose “references” have given conclusive evidence of the great advantages that tidal power plants can bring to our energy mix.
Advantages and disadvantages of tidal energy
Advantages of tidal power
- The main advantage of tidal power is that it is totally renewable, so it will never disappear as a means of energy production, no matter how much it is exploited.
- In addition to being renewable, tidal power is much more environmentally friendly than the vast majority of non-renewable sources. Although it can also have an impact on the environment, it is a 100% greenhouse gas free energy, which is a big plus today.
- Water iseasier to exploit in terms of density than air (wind energy), since being denser allows it to be exploited even if it does not have high speeds.
- The tides are more predictable than other meteorological elements, such as wind, since they occur periodically following a pattern. This makes tidal energy a stable energy that can give a “predictable” supply.
- The installations, although they require a heavy initial investment, are generally very durable and reliable, as well as not posing a serious danger to nature (even if minimal, as in nuclear plants).
Disadvantages of tidal power
- Although it does not generate greenhouse gases, by no means can it be said that tidal power has no impact on the environment. The plants necessary for the exploitation of this type of energy require large installations which, if or if not, will have an impact on the area in which they are placed. However, we must ask ourselves if the impact they generate is the price to pay for producing less greenhouse gases.
- Tidal power plants need to be installed close to land, which also means a visual impact for the coastal areas where they are installed.
- Tidal energy requires certain special characteristics for the correct use of the tides, which are much more specific than those found in solar or wind energy. For this reason, there are fewer areas of the world in which it is profitable (for now) to enter into the large investment involved in a plant of these characteristics.
- The energy production of these plants is reduced to about 10 hours a day, since they are totally dependent on tidal activity in order to be able to start up.