There is often confusion regarding the different types of tidal power, and indeed between tidal current power and wave power. To summarise:
Sea water is 832 times denser than air and so a 5 knot ocean current has more kinetic energy than a 350 km/h wind. Therefore ocean currents have a very high energy density and a smaller device is required to harness tidal current energy than to harness wind energy.
Tidal current energy takes the kinetic energy available in currents and converts it into electricity. As oceans cover over 70% of Earth’s surface, ocean energy (including wave power, tidal current power and ocean thermal energy conversion) represents a vast source of energy, estimated at between 2,000 and 4,000 TWh per year, enough energy to continuously light between 2 and 4 billion 11W low-energy light bulbs.
Both the U.S. and the U.K., for example, have enough ocean power potential to meet around 15% of their total power needs.
For tidal current energy, there is an estimated 50,000MW or approximately 180TWh per year of economically exploitable resource available worldwide.
For more information on both tidal and wave energy within the UK please click on the RenewableUK website, link below:
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