Tidal power is a type of energy source that is slowly becoming more prominent as our energy crisis continues. Using a combination of dams, fences, and turbines, many countries are utilizing the almost untapped resources of inexhaustible tidal power. Created due to the gravitational forces of the moon, the tides of the day are highly predictable and can be used incredibly efficiently. This type of energy is ever so slightly gaining popularity as companies fight for coastal rights. The economic and environmental aspects of this industry are also constantly changing as the world struggles to replace its addiction on fossil fuels. All these factors contribute to the pro’s and con’s of the tidal power industry.
Renewable resources are becoming important as fossil fuel costs rise and global warming continues. Tidal power, though only used for currently 0.01 percent of the US energy, is slowly becoming a topic of importance in this desperate economy.
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine whether or not tidal power is an appropriate resource for our growing energy needs as a flourishing global economy? Both the advantages and disadvantages of tidal power will be evaluated in the context of costs/benefits, ways of obtaining power, and environmental harms.
Costs/Benefits: Many companies are fighting for the rights of only a limited amount of coast line available for tidal power. Congress filters through the tons of requests only selecting a small lucky few of investors to harness the precious energy available through tidal power.
Tidal energy could only be harnessed in places with significant water level changes. The conversion of the potential energy that the tides will hold are more or less 80% of the available energy. Consequently only 20% of the potential energy is lost creating a fairly efficient means of extracting electricity from this natural occurrence. Because seawater has a much higher density than air, ocean currents carry significantly more energy than air currents (wind). So even though there might be less tidal power available, the properties of water create a different scenario.
Only 40 places in the world are ideal for making tidal power plants meaning they have a tide of 16 feet or more. The energy of the tides must be immense in order to draw in the venture capitalists fueling this industry. Not all of these sites can or will be utilized for a variety of reasons. Mainly it is due to the inherent human characteristic to save beauty and retain the status quo by not having large plants in 40 sites that include the picturesque San Francisco bay.
According to Simon Tander, the capital required to start construction of barrages, which are currently the main tidal power unites, has been the main problem to their deployment. Few investors are creating dams, as the long and difficult payoffs make it an
unreasonable venture. In terms of long term costs, once the...