The United Kingdom wants to wager on taking advantage of the tides through the construction of artificial lakes where turbines would be installed
The United Kingdom is facing the same energy problems that all other western countries are facing. In a not-too-distant future the functioning of both thermoelectric power plants and nuclear reactors will have to cease. In order to overcome that decrease in production at least partially, a proposal for the generation of energy has arisen that considers using tides controlled in artificial lagoons. Its cost: approximately 15,000 million pounds. Without a doubt a high cost, but also a proposal towards a renewable future.
The rise and fall of tides has, in and of itself, a great potential that could be taken advantage of, both in terms of the currents and the waves generated. In fact, there are already places where systems based on these solutions are being fully used. Basically, the rise and fall of tides is taken advantage of in large scale dams which make the 16 bidirectional turbines that the project has, work. Later, once the tide falls, the water is liberated and propels the turbines once again.
During the process, which according to those responsible can be used for 14 hours every day, thousands of megawatts will be generated during the 120 year life-span that each lake is expected to last. With its 350 megawatts, the Swansea Bay prototype has the capacity to supply 150,000 homes, the common composition of a small city. It can be ready in 2019 as long as the project is approved by the Administration of the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, after a demanding analysis process.
As for its environmental impact, Swansea Bay would occupy 11 square kilometres of the bay and be surrounded by a nine kilometre long wall. However, the plan considers the construction to also be used by citizens; it would therefore be architecturally pleasing and have a bicycle lane located on top of the wall. Sailing and canoeing learning centres would also be installed within the lagoon itself. The concern is to know how something like this could affect the population of birds and fish that can be found in the area, even if the construction of the project takes into consideration the preservation of said populations.