Energy is required for the evolution of life forms on earth. However, a significant portion of the energy which we use today is obtained from the non-renewable sources. This implies that once they are used up, they cannot be replenished. The most important source of non-renewable energy used extensively is the fossil fuels which have taken millions of years to be formed. Thus, it is important to use them judiciously. This requires us to look for alternate sources. We know that energy exists in different forms in nature and that it cannot be created or destroyed. But it can be transferred from one form to another. The energy from nature- the sun, the wind, waves, tides, etc. can be converted into a usable form. One of these renewable sources of energy is the tidal energy.
What are Tides?
The gravitational forces of the sun and the moon combined with the rotation of the earth result in an alternate rise and fall of the sea levels. At one particular place, it usually occurs twice on a lunar day. The rise of the sea level is called the high tide, whereas the fall is called the low tide.
What is Tidal Energy?
Tides are a regular phenomenon. They can be predicted over months and years in advance. This is why the energy from this massive movement of water can be harnessed and converted into a usable form of energy.
The energy obtained from the rise and fall of tides is called the tidal energy.
Tidal barrages or dams are constructed across a narrow opening to the sea. Water rushes into the dam when the sea level rises. This moves the blades of the turbines which are attached at the opening of the dam. This results in the generation of electricity.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Tidal Energy
Some of the advantages of tidal energy are:
- Inexhaustible source of energy
- Highly predictable energy source
- Environment friendly
- Operational and maintenance costs are low
- High energy density
Some of the disadvantages of tidal energy are:
- High tidal power plant construction costs
- Negative influence on marine life forms
- Location limits
- Variable intensity of sea waves
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