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Riding the wave of tidal power

Author : Beth Ragdale, Beckhoff Automation

01 November 2021

Water is one of our greatest and most abundant resources. Comprising more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface, it plays a vital role in everything from cleaning and sanitation, to processing food and drinking. It is also capable of supporting renewable energy generation, with hydropower and tidal power being underutilised in the UK.

Here, Beth Ragdale, Product Manager at Beckhoff Automation UK, explains the role of automation technologies in improving tidal energy generation.

2020 marked the UK’s greenest year for electricity on record, according to the National Grid Electricity Systems Operator (ESO), whose data suggests that the average carbon intensity was 181gCO2/kWh. 

According to a report by energy thinktank, Ember, 2020 saw the UK’s renewable electricity outpace fossil fuel generation for the first time, with combined power from renewables accounting for 42 percent of electricity. This was only one percent higher than power from coal and gas plants, but it marks a significant step forward for renewable energy.

Increasing the uptake and use of renewable energy in the years ahead – particularly to meet the UK Government’s goal of a 68 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 – involves increasing renewable generation capacity. That means not only improving and expanding sites and installations of existing renewable energies, such as the wind farms that generated a quarter of UK energy in 2020, but also making greater use of underutilised resources.

Hydropower and tidal energy are among the underutilised resources. In 2020, the two combined generated a total of 6.34TWh of power, just five percent of the 120.3TWh produced by renewables that year. In a letter to Kwasi Kwarteng MP, UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in March 2021, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) noted that tidal power has significant potential in the UK but is currently lacking in policy support...

Read the full article in DPA's November issue

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