UK island could harness tidal energy

A new study has revealed the potential benefits of the UK’s Isle of Wight adopting tidal power as a renewable energy source.

Published in the Applied Energy journal, the study focuses on the Island and its plans to generate as much renewable energy as it consumes, and achieve net-zero emissions, by 2040.

To achieve this, it will need to find ways to generate an average of 136 megawatts (MW) of electricity through clean energy to meet its future projected annual demand.

The Island’s primary source of power is currently a gas-fired power station and while solar power generates 80MW, plans for a nearby offshore wind farm were refused in 2015 on the grounds of its perceived visual impact.

However, according to the study, the island’s tidal stream potential, meanwhile, has not been fully explored.

The study was led by Dr Danny Coles at the University of Plymouth – working with the European Marine Energy Centre, Hydrowing, Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre, and the University of Edinburgh.

“Tidal stream energy provides a predictable, reliable source of renewable power that, if harnessed, can complement the variability of wind and solar,” said Dr Coles.

“Unlike wind and sun, the tides are present every day of the year. Our results show that adopting a combination of all three can reduce reliance on imported power and volatile prices.”

The research already is being used by the Isle of Wight Council and Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks to assess the scope of work needed for grid upgrades on the Isle of Wight.

The results are also being used by Scotia Gas Networks (SGN) in a whole-system study that builds on the research builds on the research and focuses on the Island’s entire electricity system.