New Report Says UK could Get 20% of Electricity Demand from Tidal Sources
The analysis, published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society reports that estuary barges and tidal streams could provide more than 20% of the UK’s demand for electricity.
“From tidal barrages you can reasonably expect you can get 15% of UK electricity needs, that’s a very solid number,” co-author Dr Nicholas Yates from the National Oceanography Centre told BBC News. “On top of that there is a 5% tidal stream figure, and with future technological development that is likely to be an underestimate in my view.”
Tidal seems to be one of the forgotten forms of renewable energy, so it will be interesting to see if the UK can develop the technology to make it market competitive with other energy sources.
Ya know, it wasn't too long ago the greens were worried about things like coastal ecology. What can they be thinking; to prefer this to LFTRs, or heck, almost any other nuclear power source?
It is too easy to for anti-nuclear parties to gain support whilst Fukushima is still so recent. It doesn't take much to create images of a nuclear meltdown or some other form of disaster near to where they live for people to rise up against the idea of nuclear energy.
Unfortunately I think we must wait a few more years before Fukushima will be sufficiently out of peoples minds for them to begin considering nuclear power once more. No matter the actual statistics or facts involved.
The good thing about tidal is that it happens every day (two ups and two downs each day in most places), and the time of high water varies quite widely from place to place. In the Bristol Channel (UK) there is a 15-metre spring tide, somewhat less at neaps, but it predictable and reliable unlike wind and solar. We need all the renewables we can get but it's difficult at present with the glut of dirty fossil-carbon fuels like LNG and others which are worse.
Unreliables like wind and solar typically result in much LESS CO2 savings than given credit for, and in some circumstances can result in MORE CO2 not less.
Because they are unreliable the power industry must keep sufficient fossil fueled generating on line to cover the shortfall when the wind stops or the clouds come. This "rolling stock" burns fuel while producing no power and the CO2 from it can only be listed in the unreliables accounts. It turns out that this is not a small amount.
Furthermore, as they begin to force their way thru mandated purchase laws into the mix of energy sources, they tend to drive out the clean, no carbon, nuclear sources since the current nukes are not real good at load following. Thus, when unreliables force conversion from nuclear to fossil, all that CO2 needs to be listed on their accounts too.
The optimum solution, IMHO, would be to start replacing coal plants with LFTRs (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors) which CAN load follow to a large extent and see whether the unreliables can compete.
Here is a good report that discusses some of these system cost issues for various generating technologies. The "unreliables" have system costs greater than the total price for current nuclear power.
Power from Liquid Fluoride Thorium Recyclers would be cheaper still since several of the system costs would be lower than standard nuclear power and the plant costs would also be lower.
'Rolling stock' is a favourite point used by the oil industry whose agenda is to discredit any alternative power source. In fact a power plant uses some fuel to keep generators when they are turning on no load, but only a very small amount to overcome friction. Only a small amount of plant needs to be kept rolling at any one time because wind and solar resources are reasonably predictable although not permanent. So this oil-companies' scare story can be discounted, although their enormous PR budget will still enable this and others to gain currency.
Ha! That is a laugh. The fossil fuel industry supports the unreliables precisely because they require load-following back-up which is all fossil fueled. "Fiends of the Earth" was started with an oil executive's donation.
The quick-start turbines are invariably SMALL and very inefficient on their own. The efficient plants need to stay running. So for back-up you either need a LOT of small, inefficient plants, or a few large, efficient plants run inefficiently.
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