Are Ocean Tides Useful?

If you have spent holidays by the sea, you must have noticed the difference between high and low tide. In some parts of the world there is as much as 12 meters between the height of high and low water.

Clearly, this movement of water is a great source of unused energy. If it were harnessed, as it is from waterfalls and rivers, the power could be enormous.

The French have pioneered this from of tidal power in their huge hydroelectric project near St. Malo in Brittany. Nestling at the foot of the Cotentin peninsula between Dinard and St. Malo, it is able to make advantage of about half the estimated  56 milions horse-power which is swept into the channel by the Atlantic tide.

The 24 separate power stations, which are built into the dam, act simultaneously to produce 540 million KWH of electricity a year.

This is less than some of the hydro-electric complexes built on the great rivers of Europe, but it is a great deal more reliable, as the rise and fall of the tide is unaffected by adverse weather conditions.

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