Swansea’s UK Tidal Lagoon
We should take advantage of the sea that surrounds countries such as the USA, the UK, Australia, Japan and many other countries. It is about time we stopped using nuclear power plants and fossil fuels and instead use the sea’s tidal waves as the most significant power station on the planet.
The combined energy production in the UK from gas, steam, coal, nuclear, hydro, wind, solar and others is about 396GW per annum. In the USA, it is about 4.5TW and China has the largest production at 5.5TW, while the global potential to generate electricity from tidal waves is much more than humankind needs and consumes. However, geographical location influences the production capacity. Some locations can generate more electricity than others, depending on the tidal rise and fall and the strength of the waves.
The estimated electricity generated from the coastline of the USA could be 2,100 TW/h from tidal waves and many feasibility studies are showing it is possible to produce hundreds of megawatts in each project or bay. However, they have not tapped into this abundant energy source of the sea and, although a few small projects have fed the national electricity grid, it is still a drop in the ocean.
Several technologies can utilize the tides and waves to generate electricity. There are a few projects around the world producing hundreds of megawatts, but it is a small percentage and must be used to its full potential.
The question is, why do electricity companies do not invest enough in renewable energies? Perhaps, in more enlightened times of humankind and when ethics rise above the greed for money, they will go Eco to produce electricity from renewable sources.
When renewable energy is mass produced in much more efficient ways, it becomes cheaper, greener, a longer-lasting investment and more ethical. All that it takes is for the politicians to encourage companies to go in this direction and for people to use renewable energy only.
Interestingly, in June 2015, the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the UK granted planning permission to construct the first tidal-lagoon power plant in the world and planning for six more. Each tidal lagoon would have a capacity of 320MW. I hope this technology will become the future for replacing nuclear and fossil-fuel sources of electricity, once the influence of the traditional electricity companies diminishes and politicians become more ethical.
The tidal lagoon is at Swansea Bay in South Wales in the UK. The bay has the advantage of tides rising from 7 to 9 meters high. It is 11 kilometers long and is used for recreation, preserving marine life and farming fish to eat.
The electricity is generated from 26 low-head belt turbines under a 550-meter-long concrete-housing structure. Each turbine is 6 meters high and 18 meters long and is capable of generating 16MW/h, which is double the 8MW/h capacity of the largest Danish wind turbine. As the tide rises, the wicket gates close to create a sea-water level difference and when the gates open the water flows forwards and backwards to rotate the turbine clockwise and anti-clockwise four times a day. The low-head belt turbine drives a motor to generate electricity.
I hope projects like this become international, costs less and are subsidized by governments, unaffected by the influence of the traditional electricity companies.
Nicola Tesla, the inventor of today’s alternating-current (AC) form of electricity, wanted to convert lightning into electricity. He died in 1943 without achieving his dream of giving free electricity to everyone on the planet. Electricity companies have made profits of trillions from his invention and he died impoverished in a hotel room.