Gallery: Is Tidal Power Damaging the Welsh Coastline?


Tidal power has the potential to provide countries with all the energy they could need – but at what cost? A team of scientists in Wales just launched a study to investigate the impact of tidal energy generation on Pembrokeshire’s coastal and marine environments. The team will work with 3D models of the seabed to study the effects of turbulence and underwater background noise on marine wildlife and fish behavior.

A team of experts from five Welsh universities will use two research vessels to monitor the trial of a newly designed underwater tidal generator and its impact on region’s ecosystems.

The 25 scientists have even given their maritime study a militaristic operational name – Operation Celtic Odyssey – as they begin their research aboard Swansea University‘s research vessel Noctiluca and Cardiff’s Guiding Light. The vessels will also act as floating laboratories and offshore classrooms while the team observes local marine wildlife.

Speaking to the BBC, Dr Chris Wooldridge of Cardiff University said they would make an independent and impartial assessment of the effects of tidal energy generation. While the region has huge potential for tidal power, he said the team wanted to establish whether the energy source is environmentally sustainable — and the trial of a new underwater generator off the Pembrokeshire coast provided the perfect opportunity.

“WAG [the Welsh Assembly Government] is committed to renewable energy but how many more wind farms can be accommodated?” Dr Wooldridge said. “We’ve got to look at alternatives. Energy debates are invariably passionate in nature whether they surround nuclear, conventional, wind or marine power.”

“Celtic Odyssey is well placed to make a substantive, evidence-based contribution to the debate on tidal power.”

+ Swansea University

Via BBC News

Lead image dougwoods


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  1. lazyreader May 11, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Dams in the Pacific Northwest and California block passage for fish species such as Pacific Salmon and Steelhead. Fish ladders and other passage facilities have been largely ineffective in mitigating the negative effects on salmon populations. In small hydro setups, since no dam is required the safety risks of having a dam are avoided, avoiding the risk of a flash flood caused by a breached dam, eliminating the need for fish ladders and reducing silt accumulation and occurs behind most dams.

    Tidal and wave farms can result in the displacement of commercial and recreational fishermen from productive fishing grounds, can change the pattern of beach sand nourishment, and may represent hazards to safe navigation.

  2. caeman May 11, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Oh noes! Clean, renewable power harms a beach? Will you hippies make up your minds, already?! Solar panels wasted land, wind mills kill birds, tidal ruins beaches. You people are starting to irk me.

  3. lazyreader May 11, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Do you want clean consistent power or do you want another national park. Just like hydroelectric dams have had their share of environmental woes. Were not gonna build any new huge dams in America, either they’ve already been built on every major river or protests led to their cancellation. I think America should invest in small hydro. There are already over 70,000 dams in America, only 2,400 of which generate any power. Run of the river hydro plants can generate power for small towns and villages with minimal transmission infrastructure; you can tie it in with the local grid.

  4. Trump56 May 10, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I feel that this is a great way of exploring our need for future energy as I’m working on a project through my website.

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