If there’s one thing we can depend on it’s the rising and falling of the tides. Up until very recently, tidal power has been a severely underutilized renewable energy source, but this won’t be the case much longer with the announcement of the world’s largest tidal power project in South Korea. A collaboration between Lunar Energy and Korean Midland Power Co (KOMIPO), and would create a colossal 300-turbine field in the Wando Hoenggan Water Way off the South Korean coast by 2015, providing 300MW of renewable energy, enough to power 200,000 homes!
In a landmark agreement signed by the Lunar Energy, Britain’s leading tidal power company, and Korean Midland Power Co (KOMIPO), the scheme will harness underwater turbines that experts say could make the proposed £15 billion Severn Barrage obsolete. The £500 million scheme will use power from fast-moving tidal streams, caused by rising and falling tides, to turn a field of 300 60ft-high tidal turbines on the sea floor.
60ft-high tidal turbines will be positioned in deep ocean water, each measuring 11.5 meters in diameter, with a 2,500 ton frame containing a pump, generator, motor and electronics. The research and feasibility study will be completed by July 2008; and 1MW pilot plant would be installed by March 2009 to evaluate the environmental impact before the full-blown project is allowed. The ecological impacts of this scheme are expected to be less than tidal barrages, which heavily alter the existing ecosystems, destroy bird habitats, and hinder the passage of migratory fish such as salmon, shad and eels.