The tides could generate 11% of the UK's electricity

The tides could generate 11% of the UK's electricity

Scientists across the UK say harnessing the power of the ocean's tidal currents could provide a predictable and reliable means of helping meet the country's future energy demand.

Dr. Danny Coles, researcher at the University of Plymouth and lead author of the study, said: “Our study shows that there is considerable evidence to support an estimate that the tidal stream energy resource of the UK and the British Channel Islands can provide 11% of our current annual electricity demand. To achieve this goal it would be necessary to install tidal flow turbines with a total capacity of about 11.5 GW, and we are currently only 18 MW ".

The regions with the highest tidal resource are the Pentlands Firth and Orkney Waters, Scotland and the Channel Islands, but both would require a large network infrastructure to connect them to high-demand centers. In parallel with this, however, other sites could be more easily developed on the south coast of England and in the Bristol Channel, as they are located in close proximity to existing network infrastructure and demand centers.

credits: Nova Innovation The UK government recently identified grid integration of variable generation as a key challenge as it increases renewable energy penetration. It is important to emphasize that this new research finds that the cyclical and predictable nature of the tides can provide network advantages over alternative variable energy technologies such as wind, including the match between supply and demand, for example.

The UK government has already committed to a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050 and, in 2017, nearly 30% of the UK's energy was generated through renewable technologies such as wind and solar energy. However, electricity demand is expected to double by 2050 and while wind and solar will be the main contributors to meeting this demand, a diversified generation technology mix is ​​needed to keep the lights on.

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