An assessment of the progress of tidal power within the UK

Watson, Walter (1993). An assessment of the progress of tidal power within the UK. MPhil thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0001017b

Abstract

The exploitation, for useful work, of the energy released by the rise and fall of the tides is not a new phenomenon. History records the existence of tide
mills, particularly in England and France, many centuries ago.

The conversion of the diurnal movement of the tides into electrical energy by the construction of barrages is, however, comparatively new, the first hard evidence of the technology appearing in the literature some seventy years ago. England, particularly the west coast of the country, has been identified as having very considerable tidal resources and this thesis reviews in detail the several tidal barrage schemes which have been proposed for a number of estuaries, including the Severn and the Mersey.

The successful construction in the 1960’s of the 240MW tidal generation scheme on the Rance River in Northern France could perhaps have been expected to provide the impetus required for a tidal project to be agreed in
this country. It remains a fact, however, that despite the information available from the successful implementation of the Rance scheme, the succession of Symposia held on the subject, the conclusions drawn by expert Committees, the research and development undertaken by specialist Companies, together with calls for action, no electricity generating barrage has been constructed, or even authorised, in this country.

This thesis places on record the results of a detailed review of the extensive literature which now exists on the subject of tidal power. While so doing, it also attempts to provide insights into possible reasons why,
despite environmental pressure for the control and reduction of emissions from fossil-fired power stations and public aversion to nuclear generated electricity, this country’s significant tidal resource of renewable green
energy has not so far been tapped for electricity generation purposes.

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