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Tidal Power Plants – Benefits and Disadvantages

written by: Ricky • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 9/13/2008

Tidal power plants are not very commonly found because of various requirements for their location which may not be easily fulfilled. Find out about the benefits and disadvantages of these plants.

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    Introduction

    If the word tidal power plant does not ring a bell in your mind, do not worry for they are not as popular as other sources of power such as hydroelectric power plants, nuclear power plants and so on. Does this mean to say that a tidal power plant is not a good option? Better read about the advantages and drawbacks of these plants and find out for yourself why they are not so popular. I am certainly an optimist so will start with the advantages and leave the drawbacks to be discussed at last.

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    Benefits of Tidal Power Plants

    • The very first advantage of a tidal power plant is very attractive, i.e. the resource used to run the turbines is available totally free of cost - namely tidal waters. This is certainly a big advantage because most other types of power plants use resources which are costly to produce or procure such as enriched radioactive fuel, coal and so forth.

     

    • A construction or structure that is not found commonly is sometimes a craze amongst the general public. Hence a tidal power plant could help a place to become popular and promote tourism in the adjoining regions. This could help the local population by contributing to their economy.
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    Disadvantages of Tidal Power Plants

    You might be wondering that if the tidal power plants have all the above advantages, then why they are not becoming popular. You will have to take a look at their drawbacks and shortcomings before understanding that which are listed as follows.

    • The requirements for setting up a tidal power plant are quite extensive such as availability of regular tides of high range and sufficient cubature. This means that they cannot be setup at will but only at places where nature has blessed the region with such condition
    • Tidal power plants are very expensive to build and hence this offsets the advantage of having free tidal water as mentioned in the advantages section above. Of course once the plant is up and running, only maintenance costs are applicable
    • The biggest disadvantage of tidal power plants is that their degrading effects of the environment are not very clearly understood and still a lot of research is required to delve deeper into the same



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    Conclusion

    We started off with the question whether tidal power plants should be built in plenty across the globe. I think after reading this article you would have come to appreciate both the positive and negative aspects of these plants. Of course no technology is without its side effects and therefore despite the drawbacks, these plants should be built in regions where natural conditions permit the same. At the same time proper care should be taken to see that the natural environment including the marine environment is not affected in a detrimental manner.