Tidal Power: Nature’s renewable hydro electric engine
Tidal energy can be converted to electricity using turbines. When water flows past these turbines - whether because of a dam or because the turbines are underwater in the sea - the energy turns the turbines and generates electricity. Unfortunately, there are very few places in the United States that would provide effective means to build tidal energy plants. The coast of Maine, where the tides can vary greatly, is one of the few places. There are many spots in the world where tidal energy can be put to good use. England is home to a location that has the potential to supply more than 10 percent of its electricity needs.
Centuries ago, we harnessed the power of the tides as an energy source. Our Dependency on fossil fuels made us forget this ancient and reliable resource. Scientists are now turning back the hands of time and adding high tech to tidal power as an alternative source of power.
Energy produced by tidal waves may one day be a major renewable energy source for the world, but right now, this form of energy is still being developed and studied.
Tidal energy has been used since the seventh century A.D., with the aid of tide mills. These mills were formed using storage ponds that were filled when tides came in and then slowly emptied when tides went out. These mills were used to mill and grind grain centuries ago. Today, many technological advances have been made to develop this energy-producing source.
Tidal wave energy offers many benefits. It is environmentally friendly, produces no harmful carbon emissions, it is predictable, does not deplete any resources like fossil fuels do, and it is very reliable. Undersea tidal turbines use the energy of the ocean to generate power and electricity, but the equipment used can be very expensive. Another downside to tidal energy is that the location is essential for harnessing the potential power. There are currently only a few tidal power generating stations in the world. The largest and oldest is located in northern France at the La France river mouth estuary.
Tidal power technology has come a long way since the early tidal mills several centuries ago. The machines used for underwater tidal energy generation are now built much stronger and more efficiently. Also, using dams to help generate tidal power has been shown to be highly effective.
Using the tides to create energy is a big step towards preventing global warming. This energy source, along with other renewable alternative sources of energy like biomass energy, solar energy, and wind energy, can stop or even reverse global warming and end dependence on fossil fuels. With oil at all-time high prices and oil reserves being slowly depleted, alternative energy sources are needed to keep the earth clean and healthy and at the same time meet the world's energy needs.
Another disadvantage of tidal energy is the high startup costs and lengthy construction time for these projects, which can take as long as ten years to build and cost millions of dollars or more.
Tidal power is one alternative to fossil fuels, but this energy source would need to be supplemented by other sources because the tides only occur at specific times and do not supply a continuous stream of energy that would be needed to meet consumer demands.
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