Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tidal Lagoons

Swansea Bay in Wales is set to house the world's first tidal lagoon. Using the predictable movement of the tide the lagoon will produce clean, green and effortless energy. Peter Ullman, chairman of Tidal Electric, explains how energy circles in the sea could supply nearly a tenth of the UK's power needs. The United Kingdom has the second highest tidal range in the world.

How do tidal lagoons work?
The lagoon is an area of water cut off from the rest of the sea. When the tide drops you get a difference in water level inside and outside of the lagoon. The water is then released. It passes through turbines creating power. After the tide rises it generates more power during filling. So it works in both directions. Sounds like science-fiction... It's here now. Tidal lagoon technology doesn't have a huge learning curve to climb. And the turbines have been in use for over 130 years - there's about half a million of them in the world today.  

How clean are they?
There's no fuel of any sort involved. There are no temperature changes in the water and there's nothing emitted.

What's in it for local people?
It's likely to attract tourists - a major source of income. In addition it could protect coastlines where erosion is a serious problem. Tidal lagoons don't require any Government subsidy. Tidal lagoons could contribute significantly to the UK power mix and create a number of jobs.

Will marine life suffer?
No. The tidal lagoon doesn't block fish migration. It will create a habitat for fish and other marine life.

When will Swansea Bay be ready?
A realistic guess would be 3 years. The only thing holding it back is the process of getting permission. Local citizens, businesses and local politicians have all been very supportive

For more details see http://www.tidalelectric.com/

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