Advantages and Disadvantages of Tidal Power Turbines
6ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF TIDAL POWER TURBINES
Advantages and Disadvantages of Tidal Power Turbines
Tidal power, also referred as tidal energy, refers to a type of hydropower that converts the energy emanating from tides into functional varieties of power, such as electricity. The tidal power, therefore, makes use of energy derived from the moving ocean tides to generate electricity. The tides are tapped for energy in two ways. The first depend on the changes in the sea levels, which advances and ebbs at the shoreline. By the use of turbines, the inward bound tides become manipulated to generate electricity. In the second method, tidal energy becomes exploited when the turbines are sank into the sea floor to encounter rapidly flowing currents, which get to turn the blades of a generator in turn generating electricity (Helston, 2012). Overall, tidal energy is regarded as renewable energy as the tides move on a predictable schedule, and contingent only on the orbits of the sun, moon, and earth — all of which are inexhaustible (Tousif & Taslim, 2011). Still, many critics have also criticised tidal power due to some of its effects. Therefore, this paper examines the advantages and disadvantages of tidal power turbines.
Advantages of tidal power turbines
The tidal power turbines depend essentially on a highly predictable source of energy. Oceans have always had tides beyond history. During the tides, huge amounts of water move in highly conventional patterns (McMillan & Lickley, 2006). In turn, it becomes easy to harness the energy the tides are able to create, as it is often possible to predict the movements of the tides even in the future years (IRENA, 2014).
The tidal power turbines depend on a relatively inexhaustible energy source. It could be reasoned that because tides have always been there, they are not likely to face any shortage anytime now or in the near future (Tsai & Chen, 2014). Essentially, the tides are subject to the control of the gravitational pull among the sun, moon, and earth (Rashid et al., 2012). What this implies is that provided that the moon orbits the earth, the tides would continue to exist to generate energy.
The tidal power turbines are operable at relatively low cost. After the initial costs of setting up the turbine, minimal additional costs would be needed to sustain the tidal energy plant up and keep it operating. Additionally, the turbines require minimal maintenance as well as minimum personnel to do the maintenance (Shah, 2011).
The tidal power turbines tend to function effectively even during low speeds. As water is naturally denser than air, the degree of movement require to generate power is minimal. Studies have showed that tidal energy may still be harnessed in situations where water is moves at low speed of nearly 3 feet per second (Lombardo, 2016).
The tidal power turbines are long lasting, as they may last for ages. Although the tidal energy plants tend to have simple structures, they are constructed from durable materials that withstand the taste of time, despite the weather. This makes them reliable for the long-term leading to reduced costs of maintenance and repair (IRENA, 2014).
The tidal power turbines generate wholly green and clean energy. The tidal energy is considered renewable energy, as the tides move on an expected, every day schedule, and contingent only on the orbits of the sun, moon, and earth, all of which are inexhaustible. Hence, the tidal energy plants do not emit carbon (Rashid et al., 2012). This makes tidal plants energy sources that do not affect the global environment negatively.
Disadvantages of tidal power turbines
The tidal power turbines have negative impacts on marine life. Among the major disquiets concerning tidal energy is the implication that the turbines and plants would have on the marine life within the neighbouring regions. The manner in which the turbines are mounted also has a potential to disrupt the habitats of aquatic life as well as inhibit free movements of species within their ecosystem (IRENA, 2014).
Construction of tidal power turbines is associated with high initial cost. Setting the turbines up inside the water is often tricky, and requires hiring professional engineers or experts in the field. Additionally, the equipment need to be installed as components of the tidal energy plant, including the power turbines, is expensive to procure. Hence, the associated costs of procuring and installing tidal power turbines are high (Shah, 2011).
An additional disadvantage is that the variations in tidal movement make power turbines less reliable for electricity generation. For instance, the precise intensity and sighting of the tides are often erratic. In case the tides are shift far off the location of the tidal power turbines, it the turbines would be virtually ineffective (Shah, 2011).
The tidal power turbines could also be blamed for making ocean usage difficult. The tidal plant has a potentially to significantly affect access of the ocean, as movement to the sections of the ocean that have been installed with the turbines would restricted. This has a potential to affect travel by sea, as vessels would be restricted from passing in the marked regions (IRENA, 2014).
Determining the location for the tidal power turbines is also difficult as not all locations would be purposeful. As a result, location limits affects their usefulness. A minimal number of ocean shores can be considered to be appropriate for constructing a tidal energy plant. Some studies have indicated that, globally, some 20 of areas are suitable for harnessing tidal energy (Lombardo, 2016).
After considering the advantages and disadvantages of tidal power turbines, I would argue that they have more advantage than disadvantages. Despite the great number of drawbacks and minimal environmental impacts, tidal power turbines have a great potential in generating electricity. I therefore believe that it is unquestionably a technology that many countries should try harness for green energy.
The tidal power turbines are advantageous as they depend essentially on a highly predictable source of energy that is also relatively inexhaustible energy source. The turbines are also operable at relatively low cost. Additionally, they tend to function effectively even during low speeds. They are long lasting, as they may last for a long time without damage. Most importantly, they help in generating completely green and clean energy. Still, they tend to have negative impacts on marine life. Constructing them also requires high initial cost. They could also be blamed for making ocean usage difficult. Lastly, determining the location for the tidal power turbines is also difficult as not all locations would be purposeful.
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McMillan, J. & Lickley, M. (2006). The Potential of Tidal Power from the Bay of Fundy. Retrieved: <https://www.siam.org/students/siuro/vol1issue1/S01006.pdf>
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