How Does Tidal Energy Work?

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The Source

  • Twice every day there is a natural event that happens with the ocean called the tide. This event moves incredible amounts of water and in the process can create a large amount of power.

The Process

  • The process of harnessing energy from the ocean's tide is very similar to that of harnessing water through a hydroelectric dam. However, the dam needed for this process is much larger. Installed within the dam are turbines. The movement and flow of the tide in and out from the shore is then used to turn those turbines and create the power needed.

Harnessing the Energy

  • As the turbines turn they create energy. This happens both as the tide comes in and as the tide goes out. The turbines' energy is then routed to storage generators and sent out through power lines to feed the power needs of the community.

Benefits and Setbacks

  • The benefits of using tidal energy is that it is a natural and predictable source of energy. However, it also has its setbacks since the tide is only moving for 8 to 10 hours per day. However, it's easy to predict when it will move and other alternative power stations can be used to make up the difference during times when the tidal power is not available. Tidal power is also free and creates no harmful byproducts that can damage the environment.

  • Photo Credit www.wikimedia.org
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