Advantages and Disadvantages of Tidal Energy
Harnessing Tidal energy or Ocean Energy is not a new concept. It began in Europe over 1000 years ago when people harnessed the movement of water to operate grain mills. However, there are many places in America where most of the energy needs can be met through Tidal Energy. Alaskan and Maine's regions are to start. The Sihwa Lake tidal power plant in South Korea is the biggest tidal power with a capacity of 254 MW. Tidal energy is the cleanest ever source but is it enough to power an entire nation? The Advantages and Disadvantages of Tidal Energy throw some light on the pros and cons.
A Little about Tidal Energy
The earth's rotation and the gravitational pull from the moon and sun cause the ocean water to rise and fall, which is harnessed in the form of tidal energy using tidal energy generators. As per global research, better use of renewable energy sources is becoming less dependent on fossil fuel.
Sea waves create energy during low and high tides. The rise and fall of ocean tides can convert it into a usable form, and mainly this kinetic energy is converted to electrical power.
Although the world's energy proportion is still coming from non-renewable energy sources due to the limited resources, nations need to reap maximum advantages of Tidal energy with the right technology.
What are the Advantages of Tidal Energy?
Being a clean energy resource, tidal energy also has a huge potential that needs to be harnessed. The fossils are limited and will expire one day, making use of renewable energy sources a need for the future. The current situation utilizes renewable forms to a lesser extent as energy consumption increases every day. Following are the advantages of Tidal Energy predicted by the world of researchers and experts.
1. Clean and Renewable
Next to Solar and Wind Energy, it is the cleanest form of energy which means it doesn't create any pollution during its use and production. This form of renewable is available without any chance of getting exhausted. There is an enormous amount of tidal energy available around the globe, and only a limited amount of it is harnessed up to this point.
2. Inexhaustible Energy
The gravitational pulls and rotation create regular waves in the form of high and low tides. Like hydropower, waves' potential and kinetic energy is utilised to move the turbines, producing electricity. It is never going to exhaust, and we can use it to create an enormous amount of energy capable of providing power to a large population.
The rise and fall of tides can be predicted using weather equipment, making it a highly predictable resource. These predictions can be utilized to judge the behaviour of ocean and sea tides, and hence the power generators can be placed at high potential points.
4. Zero Operational Cost is one of the notable advantages of Tidal Energy
Once the machinery is installed at a given point, the machine starts producing output without the need for any kind of input. The tides are free of cost, and there is no investment needed to create them. These are generated naturally, and harnessing them doesn't take any extra input cost.
5. Reduces Dependency
The amount of energy produced using thermal power stations and other non-renewable resources like nuclear energy is relatively high. The non-renewable forms of energy can reduce dependency on conventional sources of energy and the environmental impacts of pollution created by them.
What are the Disadvantages of Tidal Energy?
The use of this energy has increased gradually worldwide, and many tidal power plants are slowly on the rise. Although tidal energy has numerous benefits, its low utilization has reasons because of which it still has a lower proportion in world energy production. Here is a list of few limitations of tidal energy.
1. High Initial Cost
The cost incurred during the construction and installation of the tidal power plant is very high compared to the output generated. There is a timely formation of waves that can be utilized, and apart from that, the generators remain idle, creating a gap between energy production. The machines needed for installing the plant takes high investment before it starts giving output.
2. Marine Life Destruction
The ocean and marine life lives in water and moves along the waves, making them fall on turbines and generators. This is an unavoidable phenomenon that results in continuous damage to marine life. A large amount of the marine population can get destroyed due to tidal energy power generation.
3. Limited Locations are concerning disadvantages of Tidal Energy
The generation of tidal energy is limited to oceans and seas, and that too at limited points where the potential is enough to benefit from the resource. This makes this form a limited type for which research needs to be done before installing the electricity generating plants at proper locations.
The wave energy is not continuous as it is not formed through the day or year. It all happens naturally, as much depends on weather conditions. Calm weather is one of the main disadvantages of Tidal Energy. There are times when the actual generation takes place, and there is zero power generation at other times. Unlike hydroelectricity which generates continuous power, this cannot be controlled or made persistent by infrastructure developments.
5. Wear and Tear
The waste and marine life obstruct the machine from working as it moves along the water. As a result, they fall on the generators causing damage to it. This increases the maintenance and replacement costs for the power generating units. The obstructions to avoid this will eventually result in kinetic energy loss and can only be avoided to a limited extent.
Conclusion on Pros and Cons of Tidal Energy
The overall benefits of tidal energy as a renewable and unlimited source outweigh its limitations. The environmentalists emphasize developing ways to minimize the burden on nature by innovating techniques that do not harm the environment. Tidal energy is one of the resources that can be harnessed for future requirements and power generation methods.