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Tidal Power and the Environment

Today’s energy concerns revolve around the need for all countries to develop clean and renewable resources. Petroleum reserves are being rapidly depleting and are our limited supply is not always accessible due to political complications. The conviction that global warming has been accelerating due to man-made impacts is adding to the necessity for “clean” technology. Greenhouse gases are now a prevalent concern in industrial and residential settings. As individuals look to reduce their negative impact on the earth by conserving energy and using environmentally friendly products, governments and corporations alike are examining the vast possibilities in the field of alternative energy. Tidal power is a recent and modern development in the area of clean energy generation and is largely renowned for its low environmental impact.

5 Reasons Tidal Power can be Environmentally Friendly:

1. Renewable, Clean, Local

Tidal power is classified as a renewable energy source because water moves in the self sustaining hydrologic cycle and the tides are naturally recurring. The energy source is “clean” because there are no harmful by- products during power generation and it is a local resource because it is used by power loads close to the generation site.

2. No Fuel, No Pollution

The generation of power using underwater tidal turbines does not require fuel and produces no land, water or air pollution. Coal-fired plants, which currently generate most of our electricity, are known to emit toxic metals and sulfur dioxide among other pollutants that are hazardous to human and animal health alike.

3. Minimal Space and Materials Required

Water is 1,000 times denser than air so less material is needed to get a large net energy yield. This means less space is used and less energy goes in to extracting resources and building materials, making tidal power materials efficient from production to operation.

4. No Harmful Changes to Habitats

Unlike many other power sources, tidal turbines do not emit harmful greenhouse gases that can indirectly alter habitats. Additionally, tidal power generation does not extract or return water to a system like nuclear power plants that changes acidity and temperature of habitats.

5. Nominal Impact on Ecosystem

Marine ecosystems are not harmed when tidal turbines are operating because the movement of the blades actually creates a “bubble” that deflects incoming marine life. This advantage rivals the problems associated with wind energy, which is known to disrupt migration patterns of birds.

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