In our world today, everything relies on energy to function properly. From the electronics in our homes, the smartphones in our pockets, the cars we drive to work, and even the production of the food we eat, there is not a single modern necessity that doesn’t require some form of energy. After the thousands of years our species has spent on this earth, we have managed to consume most of our non-renewable energy sources. Crude oil, a once widely available commodity, is now dwindling down to dangerously low amounts, and so we are left to look for alternative sources of energy.
Experts, scientists, and researchers have all joined forces to come up with new sources of energy. These days, renewable energy sources are the new trend. Defined as energy from a source that is not depleted when used, renewable energy has opened the doors to countless possibilities and offers to solve the entire energy crisis. Solar energy, wind energy, and tidal energy are a few of the innovations that experts have developed in order to resolve the issue of our now dwindling non-renewable energy resources.
Tidal energy is a particularly new form of renewable energy. This form of hydro power makes use of tides and currents in large bodies of water such as oceans and seas. By installing turbines, barrages, and other equipment and machinery underwater, people can harvest energy generated by tidal waves. There are lots of benefits to this type of renewable energy, however it also has a few downsides.
The Advantages of Tidal Energy
1. Low Cost.
Aside from the construction costs, there are very little other expenses to consider when utilizing tidal energy. This is particularly good news for individuals who don’t have enough to pay for energy costs in their homes and workplaces. The cost of living in an area powered by tidal energy can be significantly decreased, thus giving individuals more leg room to save finances.
2. Effective Even When There’s Not Much Activity.
Because water is much denser than wind, it takes very little to turn underwater turbines. That being said, tidal energy can still be very effective even when there aren’t that many waves and currents in the area.
3. 100% Green and Environment Friendly.
The turbines and barrages installed to harvest tidal energy are 100% environment friendly – that is, it does not generate pollution or harmful waste that could harm the environment.
4. Can be Installed In Countless Locations.
Our earth is 70% water, and that means there are countless locations that are ideal for tidal energy. Many seas, oceans, and other bodies of water have been studied with tidal energy in mind and experts have pinpointed numerous locations all over the globe that will allow this type of energy. The more tidal energy plants we have, the less we’ll be needing non-renewable energy resources.
The Disadvantages of Tidal Energy
1. Negative Effects on Marine Life.
The diverse life forms and organisms that live underwater are not accustomed to living with man-made structures. Each year, millions of creatures die because of encounters with garbage, boats, nets, and other foreign objects. Installing monstrous turbines could put marine life in danger, killing thousands (if not millions) of helpless creatures who don’t understand what these equipment and machines are for.
2. Potential Changes in Current Direction.
Our climate and weather are ever changing, especially because of the effects of our actions on Mother Nature. Oceans and seas do have relatively fixed underwater currents, however this cannot be guaranteed to remain the same in the years to come. Changes in the direction of currents could greatly affect the effectiveness of underwater turbines, especially that the harvest of energy depends on the how much the turbines spin.
3. Affectation of the Trade Industry.
Bodies of water are used by large ships to transport goods and products from different countries all over the world. This is what sustains the lives and businesses of most individuals. Installing turbines underwater could affect the routes these ships take, because coming across a tidal energy plant out at sea could turn into a monstrous disaster. While avoiding them might seem like an easy idea, it is not quite as simple to maneuver a ship and steer clear of obstacles once you’re out at sea.
4. If Damaged, Can Take Time to Repair.
If and when communities learn to depend on tidal power plants as a source of energy, they might very well completely eliminate the use of other energy source. However, if and when these tidal power plants give in to damage, it can take a longer time to repair leaving areas that depend on it without energy for days, weeks, or perhaps even months. This is because the environment in which tidal energy plants are installed are much harder to access than most others.