September 20, 2006

good things from the sea

San Fransisco is planning to generate power from it's tides, with a chance that work on the turbines could start as early as 2008. Tidal power has a major advantage over every other renewable energy resource, it's reliable. There will never be a day when there is not a tidal current to use and varriations in timing and strength can be calculated months or years in advance and so planned for. This is not possible with any other system, photovoltaics power will change based on cloud cover, solar furnice systems will simply stop on any overcast day. The wind does not always blow. Even wave power does not have the kind of absolute reliability of the tides. The only renewable that rivals it is hydro-electric, which means damming up valleys and destroying swathes of land and the ecosystems that it contains. Tidal power should be of particular interest to the UK with our long coast line and strong tides, the Bristol channel has the second most powerful tidal currents in the world. But I don't expect anything soon, just yet more bloody windmills if anything.


Blogger MatGB said...

There will never be a day when there is not a tidal current to use

Bet there will. Not in our lifetime, but there will. The Moon'll break orbit and the tides'll go. Or some nut will blow it up.

But agreed. Only likely problem I see with tidal power is the NIMBYs. Can you see locals accepting a barrage across the mouth of the Bay?

Now one at the Golden Gate? That's cool.

10:25 pm  
Blogger chris said...

Actually the moon will more likely crash into the earth, tidal energy has to come from somewhere and where it comes from is the kinetic energy of the moon. It'll be a hell of a splash, but I'm sure somebody will try to ride the waves!

NIMBYs will be a problem, maybe not barrage the entire bay, but some of the side channels of the Dart or Kingsbridge estuary maybe. The really cool thing about this scheme is that it isn't a big concrete dam, its a set of turbines. Like this scheme in Lynmouth. Much less ugly and so easier to sell.

6:55 pm  

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