Most of our attention to ocean water is focused on the climate, and the few renewable energy stories with oceans featured have been about offshore wind projects. Today’s news corrects the deficit of attention to the power of tidal waves:
Experts say Wales has huge potential for generating renewable marine power, yet, so far, ambitious schemes have been ignored
On the stunning and craggy coastline of Holy Island in north Wales, work has started on a construction project to generate energy from one of the world’s greatest untapped energy resources: tidal power.
The Morlais project, on the small island off the west of Anglesey has benefited from £31m in what is likely to be the last large grant for Wales from the European Union’s regional funding programme. It will install turbines at what will be one of the largest tidal stream energy sites in the world, covering 13 square miles of the seabed.
Gerallt Llewelyn Jones, a director of Morlais Energy, which is operated by Anglesey-based social enterprise Menter Môn, said: “We have strong tidal resources around Wales and they have huge potential.” Compared with wind and solar power, tidal was a more predictable energy source, he added.
The project won planning permission from the Welsh government last December and is designed to power more than 180,000 homes once fully operational. Its installation will be phased so that impact on the marine environment can be monitored.
The last deep coal mine in Wales, Tower colliery near Aberdare, closed in 2008. Proponents of tidal energy say tide power could drive a new energy revolution in the country, creating thousands of jobs. A range of tidal projects, cost billions of pounds to develop, are now being proposed, and could put Wales at the forefront of a marine energy revolution.
The Morlais project is powered by kinetic energy from tidal currents, but the larger-scale projects involve building lagoons with huge sea walls incorporating turbines powered by the rise and fall of tides. The west coast of Britain has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world…
Read the whole story here.