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2.3 MECHANICAL ENGINEERING, Energy and fuels, Ocean engineering
Tidal energy has the potential to play a valuable part in a sustainable energy future. It is an extremely predictable energy source, depending only on the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun and the centrifugal forces created by the rotation of the earth-moon system. Tidal energy has been exploited on a significant scale since the construction of the La Rance tidal barrage in France in 1967. A tidal barrage utilises the potential energy of the tide and has proven to be very successful, despite opposition from environmental groups. Kinetic energy can also be harnessed from tidal currents to generate electricity and involves the use of a tidal current turbine. This is the more desired method of capturing the energy in the tides. However, tidal current turbine technology is currently not economically viable on a large scale, as it is still in an early stage of development. This paper provides an up-to-date review of the status of tidal energy technology and identifies some of the key barriers challenging the development of tidal energy. The future development of tidal current devices and tidal barrage systems is discussed as well as examining the importance of a supportive policy to assist development.
O'Rourke, F., Boyle, F., and Reynolds, A.: Tidal Energy Update 2009. Applied Energy. Volume 87, Issue 2, Pages 398-409. February 2010. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2009.08.014