The floating tidal stream turbine off the coast of Scotland has proven that it can produce electricity safely and cheaply year round.
Tidal and wave power get less attention and fewer investments than many other renewable energy sources. This is because of the inherent risk of any energy generating technology that has to operate in the brutal environment of the sea and the limited number of countries and municipalities it is a solution for.
The potential energy from these sources could easily power the world if technologies are successful and seeing as a majority of the world’s population lives with 60 miles of a coast, it puts electricity close to where it will be used.
A tidal power project called FloTEC believes that it has solved many of the problems that have faced the industry before. Its pilot SR2000 turbine is the most powerful tidal stream turbine to date and it has just finished a full year at sea continually generating electricity.
The turbine has been feeding electricity to the Orkney Islands’ grid and has supplied more than a quarter of their power needs over the year.
The turbine, which looks like a large yellow submarine, was able to weather the harsh fall and winter storms typical of the area and withstood waves over 7 meters in height. It was able to maintain continuous generation in waves 4 meters high. The team says that the improved performance over other tidal systems was thanks to bigger, more robust rotors that were able to generate energy at lower speeds.
Perhaps a great opportunity for Canada and the USA to start generating tidal energy!