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Dynamic Tidal Power

People tend to think that in order to exploit hydropower, water needs to be confined in closed reservoirs, like high in the mountains or hermetically sealed dams in rivers. But according to some, it does not need to be and ‘leaking’ can be tolerated. In many coastal areas in the world oscillating tidal waves runs parallel to the coast. The idea is to build long dams perpendicular to the coast into the sea. These dams could be used to place windturbines on them, exploiting higher than average wind speeds in coastal regions, but the real innovation is to additionally have turbines placed under the water level, exploiting the energy contained in rising tides. China, Korea or the UK could be suitable candidates to try this idea out, where head differences of a few meter can be achieved. A single dam could generate up to an astounding 15 GW in a predictable way. Potential for China: 80-150 GW. Additional economic advantages could be realized by connecting islands or the constructions of safer LNG ports, far from inhabited areas. All necessary technologies do exist, the challenge though is that small scale demonstration projects simply will not work. In other words: kicking this technology off involves high risks. Power generation capacity increases as the square of the dam length increases (both head and volume increase in a more or less linear manner for increased dam length, resulting in a quadratic increase in power generation).



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