Tidal Energy for the UK
Tidal energy production is beginning to grow and become another source of consumable clean energy. The amount of power produced so far has been very limited and there are just a few commercial-sized tidal power plants operating in the world. The first was located in La Rance, France and the largest facility is the Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station in South Korea. The United States has no tidal plants and only a few sites where tidal energy could be produced at a reasonable price.
England, Canada, China, France and Russia have much more potential to use this type of energy. Oxford University has partnered with Kepler Energy, which was established in 2010 create a tidal source of energy and built a second generation tidal turbine with three senior academics from the university.
The tidal turbine will be a 30 megawatt (MW) tidal energy fence that will be built in the Bristol Channel in the UK. The one kilometer-long fence will feature a series of marine turbines that will operate in shallower, slower waters than do current designs.
The Transverse Horizontal Axis Water Turbine’s (THAWT) design is compared to that of a water mill and it will be constructed with the latest carbon composite technology. The turbine will sit horizontally beneath the sea surface and operate in shallower waters. Current systems must be in at least 30-meters. The THAWT will be in shallower waters and will be the environmentally sound system built in the world as extensive testing has ensured that it poses no risks to marine life. With an estimated cost of $220 million, Kepler expects the fence to be operational in 2021.
Kepler estimates that THAWT if properly harnessed can five percent of England energy needs and provide 30,000 thousand residences. Kepler believes that THAWT can generate the power of a small nuclear reactor using the Bristol Channel’s tides.
The UK is quickly becoming a leader renewable energy, which includes offshore windfarms off the Northeast coast. Forewind’s Dogger Teesside A and B project will include up to 400 wind turbines each with an installed capacity of 1.2 GW. MarEx reported on this in an article you can read here.
The first phase of the tidal fence scheme will be up to a one kilometer long. Kepler believes that its tidal fences in the future could be 10km or longer.