Tidal Power

In addition to traditional hydropower plants located in rivers and streams, it is also possible to use tidal power for hydroelectric generation. In areas where the normal tide runs high, water can be allowed to flow into a dam-controlled basin during high tide and discharged during low tide to produce intermittent power. One such plant is located in France on the estuary of the Rance River in Brittany. There, a reservoir has been created by a barrage 2.4 miles (4 km) inland from the river mouth to make use of tides ranging from about 11 to 44 ft (3.4 to 13.4 m). The power station is equipped with 24 reversible bulb-type propeller turbines coupled to reversible motor/generators, each having a capacity of 10 MW. Pumped storage is used if the tidal outflow through the plant falls below peak power demands. The use of reversible turbines (a series of fixed and rotating blades) permits the tidal flow to work in both directions, from the sea to the tidal basin on the flood and on the ebb from the basin to the sea.

Although large amounts of power are available from the tides in favorable locations, this power is intermittent and varies with the seasons. However, while these are difficult, expensive applications and viable sites are limited, the potential does exist for application in locations where tides are extremely high. One site of consideration for future application is the Bay of Fundy, where the tidal range reaches more than (49 ft) 15 m.

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