Professor Brian Morgan asserts that tidal power can contribute to achieving net zero.
The UK encounters numerous challenges in the energy sector, ranging from addressing climate change to achieving the Net Zero. A crucial aspect of the solution involves formulating an energy strategy that leverages renewable sources.
Every renewable energy technology contributes to maximizing energy generation and achieving Net Zero. In this article, he aims the significant role that tidal energy could play in this transition. It stands out as a crucial resource and a relatively small investment in advancing technology could unlock substantial gigawatts (GW).
The Market Landscape of Tidal Power
The world possesses a plentiful source of predictable tidal power capable of aiding in the achievement of net zero. The infrastructure to harness this power could also safeguard coastlines and urban settlements from the rising sea levels.
The total global tidal energy output is estimated to be around 1,000 GW. This represents a substantial energy resource, comparable in size to offshore wind and new nuclear power targets. Tidal range schemes stand out due to their ability to provide clean, highly predictable, carbon-free, renewable energy at scale. Moreover, they offer the added benefits of protecting coastal settlements and habitats, boasting a significantly longer operative lifespan (over 120 years) compared to nuclear power and greater predictability than wind or solar power.
‘Tidal range’ energy utilizes tidal movements to drive turbines and generate electricity. This type of energy project requires a significant difference in tide levels and relatively shallow water. The Welsh coastline is recognized as having some of the best tidal energy opportunities globally.
There are two main approaches for harnessing tidal range energy: constructing a tidal barrage across a tidal estuary or creating a tidal lagoon—an enclosed structure typically attached to the coast.
By employing both options, the UK could tap into its 30 GW of tidal range energy, making it one of the world’s largest tidal range resources. The Severn Estuary is particularly noteworthy due to its tidal range exceeding 15 meters, providing the Southwest region with a distinctive competitive advantage.