One of the world’s biggest tidal energy turbines being prepared for deployment in Scotland

13 January 2013 Last updated at 21:07 ET

UK tidal power has huge potential, say scientists

By Matt McGrath
Environment correspondent, BBC News

The UK is underestimating the amount of electricity that could be generated from tidal sources, new research says.

The analysis says that estuary barrages and tidal streams could provide more than 20% of the nation’s demand for electricity.

Despite high costs, experts say tidal power is more reliable than wind.

The predictable nature of tides makes them an ideal renewable energy source, the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A reports.

But finding effective ways of utilising their latent power have proved elusive.

Essentially, engineers try to tap tides in two ways: one involves building barrages across tidal estuaries that use the ebb and flow of the waters to turn turbines – a major project of this type had been proposed for the River Severn.

The other method involves planting turbines underwater in fast flowing tidal streams in areas such as in coastal waters around Cornwall and Scotland.

Read more: BBC News – UK tidal power has huge potential, say scientists.

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