Ambitious plans have been drawn up for a network of “tidal lagoons” around the UK coast that could provide up to a quarter of the country’s electricity – and there is potential to roll out the technology in many parts of the world. Tidal lagoons work by using a wall to capture a body of water in the sea or a tidal estuary pushed in on the rising tide. The water drives turbines as the tide comes in, and then, as the tide falls, the turbines are reversed and the energy from the falling tide is harnessed again. The technology is not without its drawbacks. Artificial lagoons can cause increased silting-up of shipping lanes. Tidal estuaries are also important for wading birds, marine mammals and migratory fish, and conservation groups have warned that the ecological impacts of tidal lagoons are not well understood and that any roll-out of lagoons in the UK should be conditional on the Swansea project being tried and tested. Backers of the technology say management practices can be adapted to address such concerns – and they point out that lagoons can provide environmental benefits, acting as artificial reefs for marine wildlife. The UK government is expected to announce a final decision on the Swansea Bay project within the next few months.
Climate News Network 22nd Feb 2017 read more »