The ability to extract energy from ocean waves – wave power – has proved more difficult than what was first thought several years ago. Power generation by harnessing tidal water has been shown more successful.
A powerful tidal power plant that looks a lot like a yellow submarine is now being tested on the Orkney Islands in Scotland.
The ‘SR 2000’ is claimed to be the world’s most powerful tidal power plant according to the company behind it, Scotrenewables Tidal Power.
It is located on the surface with a large folding propeller that moves with tidal currents, and thus generates electricity.
It is 63 meters in length and been developed over 12 years. Scotrenewables say it is capable of generating 2MW of power – enough for about 1,000 homes over a year.
How well it will cope with the harsh marine environment remains to be seen, but preliminary tests are promising. Below, the first installation of SR2000 Tidal Turbine in October 2016.
Orkney was the epicenter of wave power as a promising new source of power generation. With a variety of wave power machines tested, most of which did not measure up. The elements of nature were simply too much. The constant wear and tear resulting from storms and waves broke the technology down.
There are still a few companies and concepts remaining on the market, but many now believe that tidal power will become a future clean source of energy.
The fact that water is 800 times denser than air and the predictable and reliable nature of tides compared with wind or waves, makes tidal energy generation particularly attractive. But it remains to be seen, however, if wave- or tidal power will be able to deliver electricity in a cost effective way.