Table of Contents
What is Tidal Energy?
Tidal Energy is a type of power generated by the natural rise and fall of tides caused by the gravitational interaction of the Earth, Sun, and Moon. Tidal energy can be transformed into useful kinds of power, for example, electricity, by using properly designed generators at appropriate locations.
Tidal currents with sufficient energy for harvesting develop as water moves more quickly through a constriction. Tidal Energy is produced by the movement of tides and seas and is manifested in the intensity of the water caused by the rise and fall of tides. In tidal power, a form of gravitational hydropower, a turbine is propelled by the flow of water to produce electricity.
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Tidal Energy Working Phenomenon
Tides are a common occurrence. Tides are the vertical rise and fall of water in bays, harbours, estuaries, and straits, which are accompanied by an incoming (flood) or outgoing (ebb) horizontal flow of water. Tides are susceptible to forecasting months and years in advance. Because of this, the energy generated by the enormous water movement may be captured and transformed into a useful type of energy. Tidal current or tidal stream are terms used to describe this phenomenon.
Tidal currents with adequate energy for harvesting emerge as water passes through a constriction. This causes the water to move faster. Tidal stream devices work similarly to wind turbines. They use water currents to convert kinetic energy into electricity instead of wind. Tidal currents’ energy potential is often found in places with the highest tidal range. This potential increases if the flow of water is limited by narrow straits and the water level is relatively shallow. Considerable marine current flows exist where there is a major phase difference between the tides. Due to local geography, many areas across the world have exceptionally large tidal ranges. For Example, the La Rance estuary in northern France, the Kisalaya Guba in Russia, the Bay of Fundy in Canada, and the Severn Estuary between England and Wales.
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Tidal Energy Diagram
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Tidal Energy Generation Process
Oceanic tides are utilised to produce energy by building floodgate dams across sea/ocean inlets. When the gate is closed, water that is entering the inlet during high tide becomes trapped. Through a pipe, the water that the floodgate has captured returns to the sea. After the tide recedes outside the floodgate, this water then goes through a turbine that produces electricity.
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Tidal Energy in India
The tidal cycle takes place once every twelve hours as a result of the moon’s gravitational pull. The difference in water depth between low and high tides is known as potential energy. To harness the full strength of the tidal energy potential, the high tide must be at least five metres (16 feet) higher than the low tide. India is one of just roughly 20 locations on the earth where the tides are this high. On Gujarat’s west coast, the Gulf of Cambay and the Gulf of Kutch have maximum and average tidal ranges of 11 metres and 8 metres, respectively.
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Tidal Energy Advantages
- Tidal energy output is predictable and steady because of gravitational forces.
- As technology develops, tidal energy will become more accessible and effective.
- It guards against coastal flooding because of its stability under varied design situations.
- Tidal lagoons have the capacity to absorb storm surges and waves once every 500 years.
- Compared to other renewable energy sources, tidal power equipment and facilities can last far longer and be more affordable.
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Government’s Initiative for Tidal Energy
The Gujarat government secured a contract in 2011 to develop a 250 MW tidal power project in the Gulf of Kutch with GPCL, Atlantis Resource Corporation (UK), and PMES, Singapore. A 50 MW tidal power project in Mandavi in the Kutch area has started its first phase. A demonstration project to construct a 3.75 MW tidal power plant at Durgaduani Creek in the Sunderbans, West Bengal, was sanctioned by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in 2008, but it was never carried out.
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Tidal Energy Challenges
Despite making quick progress with other renewable energy sources, India has not made any meaningful breakthrough in the nearly 40 years since it started attempting to evaluate and harness tidal power. A legislative panel has now asked the Indian government to reevaluate the country’s tidal power potential, look into how much of it can actually be used, carry out more research in the area, and create a tidal power pilot project.
India started building two tidal power projects in Gujarat and West Bengal in 2007 and 2011, with an installed capacity of 3.75 and 50 megawatts, respectively. However, both of these projects were put on hold because of their astronomical prices. The 3.75 MW Durgaduani tidal power project in West Bengal cost Rs. 2.38 billion to complete (Rs. 238 crore). Per megawatt of power, the 50 MW tidal power facility in Gujarat’s Gulf of Kutch was reported to have cost Rs. 7.5 billion (Rs. 750 crores).
Tidal power plants haven’t been established in India for a number of reasons, including prohibitive costs and environmental risks. Tidal power is not being pursued globally either due to a number of barriers.
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Tidal Energy Disadvantages
- Tidal power plant construction is currently more expensive because of the large capital needs.
- The main environmental issues are fish entering the lagoon and being struck by blades, noise from the turbines, altered sedimentation processes, and altered habitat.
- On the other hand, each of these effects is specific and does not have an impact on the entire estuary or bay.
- Repairing and maintaining equipment can be challenging.
- Energy is in limited demand. Tidal energy storage capability must be created because strong tides typically only occur for 10 hours every day.
- Since the energy generated by the tides is frequently located far from where the electricity would be utilised inland, it is challenging to offer tidal energy to coastal settlements.
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Tidal Energy UPSC
The gravitational interaction between the Earth, the sun, and the moon, which results in the tides’ normal rise and fall, produces a particular kind of energy known as tidal energy. Tidal currents with enough energy to be harvested emerge when water moves more quickly past a restriction. Estimates from the Indian government place the nation’s tidal energy potential at 8,000 MW. This includes around 7,000 MW in the Gulf of Cambay in Gujarat, 1,200 MW in the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat, and 100 MW in the Gangetic delta of the Sunderbans in West Bengal. Tidal energy is produced when the ocean waters rise and fall with the tides. A renewable energy source is tidal power. You will learn about Tidal Energy in India from this article, which will help you with your geography study for the UPSC/IAS exam.