Tidal power stations utilise the daily fluctuation of the water level for producing electricity.
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Tidal power station
dam - It blocks the bay or river mouth. There are openings in it which let the water flow through and thereby drive the generators.
bay - Tidal power stations are dam-like structures built across the mouth of bays or rivers.
During flood tide, the water level rises and the water flows to the area enclosed by the dam. Then the gates are closed. During ebb tide, the sea level drops but the water level in the pool remains high. When the bottom gates are opened the force of the water flowing back into the sea starts rotating the turbine blades.
The turbine drives the generator, which produces electricity. This process stops when the sea level and the water level of the pool reach equilibrium, and starts again with the next flood tide.
Tidal power stations utilise renewable energy and their operation does not pollute the environment as they do not release any harmful substances. The energy output of tidal power stations is more predictable than that of solar power stations or wind farms. Besides their advantages, however, they also have disadvantages. The cost of the installation is very high, and the dam obstructs the free movement of the sediment transported by the river or sea currents. The salinity of the water also changes, which affects the ecosystem of the area.
Engineers are working on the development of turbines which do not require the construction of dams, thus they are better for the environment. The force of the waterflow drives the turbine, rotating the generator, which produces electric current. The turbines are capable of generating electricity during both the ebb and flood tides because the blades can pitch through 180˚.