Tidal Power Then and Now

A while back I wrote a post on Tidal Barrages (https://lifekills.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/tidal-power-barrages-and-ebb-generation/). Here is another way to generate energy from tides.

Probably, everybody is aware of possibilities of energy production in case of extinction and depletion of fuel deposits.  The solution is found in renewable energy due to multiple opportunities provided by natural and environmental conditions. Tidal energy is the one secured by both cosmic gravitation of the Sun and the Moon, and oceanic spaces, of course. However, not all the regions on Earth can boast of favorable and promising tidal indicators. That is why it is better to feature on France and the English Channel as an area where tidal energy generation was organized for the first time and where the most powerful tidal station is going to be constructed this year.

It is interesting to know that the first registries of tidal energy usage are dated back to the 10th -11th centuries. There were lots of windmills and sawmills in England and France, which used tidal energy in industrial purposes. However, only one of these two states might be marked with erection of the first tidal energy system in the world. It was Rance Tidal Power Station, constructed on the estuary of Rance River (Brittany Peninsula) in 1966. Its capacity is pretty astonishing – 240 MW produced by 24 tidal generators, – which is preconditioned by comparatively high tides reaching 13,5 meters. The significance of Rance station is still of high value even nowadays, contributing 0,012% to energy demand in the country. Most of the power generated by the station is used during peak seasons (544 million kWh per year in total). However, high prices obstruct the enlargement of tidal energy industry. Speaking of energy production in France, nuclear power production keeps the lowest cost. In this case, the renovation of the Rance station is getting more appropriate and promising.

On the contrary, in 2012 Frenchmen might see the most powerful tidal project actualized. In particular, it is associated with the station near the coast of Paimpol-Bréhat in Brittany. The project was assigned to Irish company OpenHydro Group Ltd. and French company EDF, which already accomplished some magnificent and profitable projects on tidal energy in North America and the United Kingdom. Paimpol-Bréhat power station was designed in 2004 (estimated cost was 55 million dollars) and in 2008 the construction was started.

The basis of new tidal station is comprised of four large turbines with a weight of nearly 850 tones each. They are going to be established near the coast, attached to an anchor on the depth of 115 meters. The diameter of each turbine is 21, 5 meters. It is appropriate to note that tidal turbines have certain advantages in opposite to wind and solar cells, including invisibility under the water, quiet operation and less impact on environment. And, besides, a new station can provide energy for more than 4 thousand houses in the region of Paimpol-Bréhat.

Maria Kruk, an author for Patentsbase.com

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One Response

  1. Great article.

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