Quantcast

Ocean Tides to Power More Than 150,000 Homes

While the power plant below looks more like a gorgeous get-away than a solution to man’s energy needs, its benefits extend far beyond its beauty. As Reconstruct reports, the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will use the rise and fall of ocean tides to generate enough renewable electricity to power 155,000 homes for 120 years.

The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will use the rise and fall of ocean tides to generate enough renewable electricity to power 155,000 homes for 120 years. Photo credit: Juice Architects

Though not completed at present, when the structure is finished, it will produce enough electricity to displace more than a quarter million barrels of oil each year—while leaving virtually no carbon footprint.

Power plants have been generating electricity from the oceans’ tides since 1966, but the Swansea Lagoon is the first to employ a radically new method.

How Does It Work? 

It’s nearly six-mile-long barrier wall will enclose a huge amount of water in an artificial “tidal lagoon.” This lagoon captures and holds seawater at high tide. As the tide goes out, water in the 4.5 square mile lagoon will be as much as 27 feet higher than the water outside its walls. This immense pressure will be routed through 26 turbines, flooding out to sea until the water level equalizes on both sides of the lagoon.

The flow is reversed at high tide, keeping the sea out of the lagoon until it reaches maximum height. Then water is let go, so it may rush through the turbines until it again fills up the lagoon.

To put it into perspective, the amount of water rushing through the turbines would fill 100,000 Olympic swimming pools each day.

The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will crank out clean energy as well as be used as a sports arena, aquaculture farm and seaside sculpture garden, reports GoodNewsNetwork. Its aquaculture farm will grow oysters, kelp and other local sea crops.

In addition, the lagoon can be used as a giant arena for sailing and cycling sports.

The designers of the fabulous structure plan to implement sculptures that appear to disappear into the water or rise out of it as the tides roll in and out.

Photo credit: Preconstruct

Its location at Swansea, Wales was chosen because it has some of the highest tide differences in the U.K. This will maximize the amount of water that can be used to turn turbines and generate the 420-gigawatt hours per year.

Plans for the structure were approved by the UK Energy Ministry in June, and construction is expected to begin sometime in 2017.

The builders are presently bargaining to exchange the $1.5 billion price tag (subsidized by the government for 35 years) for approval on two more tidal lagoon plants at Cardiff and Newport.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Larry David as Bernie Sanders on Saturday Night Live: ‘We Need a Revolution’

Bill McKibben Gets Arrested Exposing Exxon’s ‘Unparalleled Evil’

The World’s Largest Earth Science Experiment: Biosphere 2

Lawsuits Mount Against Monsanto’s ‘Cancer-Causing’ Weedkiller

Sponsored
Prince William and British naturalist David Attenborough attend converse during the World Economic Forum annual meeting, on January 22 in Davos, Switzerland. Fabrice Cofferini /AFP / Getty Images

Britain's Prince William interviewed famed broadcaster David Attenborough on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Switzerland.

During the sit-down, the 92-year-old naturalist advised the world leaders and business elite gathered in Davos this week that we must respect and protect the natural world, adding that the future of its survival—as well as humanity's survival—is in our hands.

Read More Show Less
EV charging lot in Anaheim, California. dj venus / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Electric vehicle sales took off in 2018, with a record two million units sold around the world, according to a new Deloitte analysis.

What's more, the accounting firm predicts that another 21 million electric cars will be on the road globally over the next decade due to growing market demand for clean transportation, government subsidies, as well as bans on fossil fuel cars.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Teenager Alex Weber and friends collected nearly 40,000 golf balls hit into the ocean from a handful of California golf courses. Alex Weber / CC BY-ND

By Matthew Savoca

Plastic pollution in the world's oceans has become a global environmental crisis. Many people have seen images that seem to capture it, such as beaches carpeted with plastic trash or a seahorse gripping a cotton swab with its tail.

As a scientist researching marine plastic pollution, I thought I had seen a lot. Then, early in 2017, I heard from Alex Weber, a junior at Carmel High School in California.

Read More Show Less
Southwest Greenland had the most consistent ice loss from 2003 to 2012. Eqalugaarsuit, Ostgronland, Greenland on Aug. 1, 2018. Rob Oo / CC BY 2.0

Greenland is melting about four times faster than it was in 2003, a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, a discovery with frightening implications for the pace and extent of future sea level rise.

"We're going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future," study lead author and Ohio State University geodynamics professor Dr. Michael Bevis said in a press release. "Once you hit that tipping point, the only question is: How severe does it get?"

Read More Show Less
Seismic tests are a precursor to offshore drilling for oil and gas. BSEE

Finally, some good news about the otherwise terrible partial government shutdown. A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot issue permits to conduct seismic testing during the government impasse.

The Justice Department sought to delay—or stay—a motion filed by a range of coastal cities, businesses and conservation organizations that are suing the Trump administration over offshore oil drilling, Reuters reported. The department argued that it did not have the resources it needed to work on the case due to the shutdown.

Read More Show Less
Brazil, Pantanal, water lilies. Nat Photos / DigitalVision / Getty Images Plus

Most people have heard of the Amazon, South America's famed rainforest and hub of biological diversity. Less well known, though no less critical, is the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland.

Like the Amazon, the Pantanal is ecologically important and imperiled. Located primarily in Brazil, it also stretches into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. Covering an area larger than England at more than 70,000 square miles, the massive wetland provides irreplaceable ecosystem services that include the regulation of floodwaters, nutrient renewal, river flow for navigability, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. The wetland also supports the economies of the four South American states it covers.

Read More Show Less
Demonstrators participate in a protest march over agricultural policy on Jan. 19 in Berlin, Germany. Carsten Koall / Getty Images Europe

By Andrea Germanos

Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they're "fed up" with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals and rural farmers.

Read More Show Less
MarioGuti / iStock / Getty Images

By Patrick Rogers

If you have ever considered making the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, don't drag your feet. Though EV prices are falling, and states are unveiling more and more public charging stations and plug-in-ready parking spots, the federal government is doing everything it can to slam the brakes on our progress away from gas-burning internal combustion engines. President Trump, likely pressured by his allies in the fossil fuel industry, has threatened to end the federal tax credits that have already helped put hundreds of thousands of EVs on the road—a move bound to harm not only our environment but our economy, too. After all, the manufacturing and sale of EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids supported 197,000 jobs in 2017, according to the most recent U.S. Energy and Employment Report.

Read More Show Less