New Tidal Energy Projects
In late February, I came across the news that a £70m tidal project in Anglesey has been given the final go-ahead. I think this is fantastic news, since it is one of the few large-scale tidal projects that has actually received funding (I am still hopeful in time the Severn Estuary will have a tidal barrier installed – but more on why I think that is a great idea can be found here).
The plan is that Marine Current Turbines (owned by Siemens) will position five 2MW tidal stream turbines between Skerries and Carmel Head. Combined, these turbines will produce enough electricity to supply 10,000 homes. I know this is not the millions of homes that a nuclear power plant can power, but we need to start somewhere.
Anyway, what was interesting about this was that I was talking to a friend of mine who goes to Holyhead most weekends and has done since he was little and he said there was uproar in the local community over these proposed turbines.
‘Those bloody turbines everywhere – ruin the beauty of the place’
Educating the masses on Renewables!
Now, he is my friend so I certainly won’t name and shame him, but these turbines are actually under the water, so unless he happens to be swimming in close proximity, the view will only be dampened by 5 buoys that show the position of the turbines under the water to help boats navigate.
I think this is part of the problem, there are people that hate renewables full-stop. I appreciate that and there is nothing I can really do about it, but this guy is full of praise for what we are trying to do here at TheGreenAge and he helps spread the word for renewables, he just seems unwilling to accept them if they could potentially sit on his doorstep.
Tidal energy has a great deal of potential as a renewable energy source, since the electricity generation is more predictable because we know when the tides run. In addition these submerged turbines don’t have the same visual impact of wind turbines. The UK also has enormous potential tidal resource; a recent report by the crown estate stated that tidal energy could provide a maximum capacity of 91GW of electricity (approximately 216TWh per year). Maximum capacity in the UK is currently about 65GW, and the total electricity used in 2011 was 374TWh.
I think this shows that we still have a hell of a long way to go to educating the general public about renewables. We need to get behind these new innovative technologies, because one day we really could become reliant on them for all our energy needs.
For more information on Tidal energy, including case studies – please visit our Tidal Energy section.
Author: James Alcock