Tidal energy remains one of the world’s greatest untapped renewable power resources. For countries with an abundance of tidal coastlines, like the United Kingdom, this represents an enormous opportunity.
The good news is that construction has begun on the Morlais tidal energy project on the stunning, craggy coastline of Holy Island, off the coast of Anglesey in Northwest Wales, after the European Union’s regional funding program gave the project a grant of £31 million ($40 million). This will fund the construction of tidal energy turbines over 13 square miles of seabed. The new system will power more than 180,000 Welsh homes once completed and fully operational.
“We have strong tidal resources around Wales and they have huge potential,” said Gerallt Llewelyn Jones, a director of Morlais Energy. He also stated that tidal energy was even more reliable than wind or solar.
There are a few different types of tidal turbines that use the passing water of the tides to turn rotor blades and generate energy. A horizontal axis turbine resembles a wind turbine with rotor blades. A vertical axis turbine has two-sided fans which spin on a vertical axis like a weathervane.
Tidal power could also turn into a revolutionary and huge industry. The west coast of Britain has one of the largest tidal areas in the world, and new tidal turbine installations could create thousands of new jobs.
With any luck, the Morlais project will be the first in a changing of the tides for countries with a lot of coastlines and the need for renewable energy sources.