Wind and solar power may get the most attention in the realm of green energy, but tidal power is slowly edging its way in: Scotland, Korea, and even New York City all have tidal power projects currently underway. Most recently, India joined the tidal power wave with the approval of a commercial-scale tidal power plant in the Gulf of Kutch. The 50 Mw plant will be developed by the London-based company Atlantis Resources Corporation in partnership with Gujarat Power Corporation, and construction will start this year. The plant should be operating by 2013, making it the first of its kind in Asia (Korea’s tidal power plant won’t be finished until 2015).
Last year, Atlantis unveiled the world’s largest tidal turbine in Scotland, where they installed a 378 Mw tidal power project. An initial economic and technical study by the company indicated that the Gulf of Kutch could produce as much as 300 Mw of extractable tidal power, but the plant is likely to be scaled up to a capacity of 250 Mw. The total cost will be about $165 million. Costs for tidal power plants are so high because of the extensive civil works required. To make the Gulf of Kutch project commercially viable, attractive tariffs are imposed for the power offtakers.
Tidal plants usually take between eight and twelve years to break even, but their environmental advantages are unparalleled. Tidal power is incredibly predictable, making it one of the most reliable sources of renewable energy.