Is the tide turning in favor of renewable energy in the United Kingdom?
Orkney was heavily involved in the North Sea Oil Boom when I visited in the 1970s. The Flotta oil port is still operational, although renewable energy, primarily wind and some tidal, provides up to 120 percent of Orkney’s electricity needs.
Since 2013, these wind- and wave-lashed islands near the North Sea have been exporting green electricity. The Orkney Islands, which have some of the world’s greatest tides, are now at the forefront of using the water to generate cleaner, green energy.
48 tidal and wave power projects are being tested at the European Marine Energy Centre in Stromness.
Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, appears like a big 250ft long rowing boat from the air off the isle of Eday.
With a capacity of 2MW, it could provide enough clean, reliable electricity to power over 2,000 UK homes while also reducing CO2 emissions by about 2,200 tonnes each year.
It’s just one of a slew of projects throughout the world examining the potential of renewable energy sources other than wind and solar to power the planet and mitigate climate change.
The £3 billion TPGen24, the vision of engineer Stuart Murphy, is in an earlier stage of development and is intended for near Liverpool.
“There is more than enough energy in the UK’s tidal waters to supply the whole demands of the country, if only it could be captured,” it states in its promotional video.
Mr Murphy claims that his proposed nine-mile-by-4.5-mile network of lagoons could create clean electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week by tapping into the Dee estuary’s tides, and that it could last more than a century.
“TPGen24 is a massive system capable of producing an astonishing 9.53 Terawatt hours per year – enough electricity for 1.86 million homes or 35 million six-hour overnight car charges,” Mr Murphy added.
He claims that his plan solves one of the primary issues with existing renewables: their inconstancy.
“The holy Grail is twenty-four-hour renewable generation,” he remarked. And, unlike solar and wind generators, tidal power is completely predictable.”
Because of its 11,000-mile coastline and the constant movement of the tides, the UK should be the Saudi Arabia of marine power.
However, detractors argue that the reason it hasn’t is because it hasn’t yet. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”