Tidal Energy from the Ocean

Extracts energy from the kinetic energy of the earth-moon-sun system.

Variations in water level along coastlines can be used to drive turbines --> technology is the same as low-head hydro power

Vertical tides on US coast range from 2 feet in Florida to more than 18 feet in Maine

To enhance efficiency of turbines driven by tidal currents, it is desireable to build a damlike structure across the mouth of a tidal basin in order to direct the flow to a turbine

Turbines designed for work at both high and low tide (inflow or outflow)

Intermittent tidal flow is major problem. Tidal facility produces about 1/3 the electrical energy of a hydro facility of the same peak capacity

Two tidal plants in the world:

Potential Sites in the US

Bottom Line: There aren't many favorable sites in the world for tidal power and the estimated capacity is 50 times smaller than the world's hydroelectric power capacity.

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