Seawater energy


The energy of the tides or tidal energy is probably one of the oldest forms of power generation in the world. It is a renewable form of energy that has the ability to convert the natural rise and fall of the tides into electricity. As we already know, tides are caused by the combined effects of gravitational forces that are exerted by the Moon, the Sun, and the Earth’s rotation. Tidal energy features an evolving technology with tremendous potential, yet it can only be installed along shores. Coasts often experience two high tides and two low tides daily and the difference in water levels must be at least 5 meters high in order to produce electricity.


What is tidal energy?

Tidal energy is a type of energy that is produced through the movement of the tides of the oceans, and that is used by turbines that operate an alternator that is responsible for producing electrical energy .

  • What is tidal energy?
  • features
  • History
  • What is tidal energy for?
  • How it is generated
  • Functioning
  • Advantages of tidal energy
  • Disadvantages
  • Importance
  • Use of tidal energy by country

What is tidal energy?

Tidal energy consists of obtaining energy through the tides of the oceans through a connection that is linked to an alternator which has the ability to produce electricity , transforming the energy of the ocean into electrical energy in a safe and clean way. .



Its main characteristics are the following:

  • It is achieved by using the tides of the oceans that are caused by the forces of gravity exerted by the moon and the sun.
  • It is a clean and renewable source of energy .
  • It does not pollute the environment .
  • It is renewable because the water in the sea does not run out.
  • Helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions .


Many years ago, between 1581 and 1822, in London, a large wheel that was moved by the tide operated on the waters of the River Thames , which allowed the water to be pumped to the center of the city. However, it was in France that the first attempt was made to harness the movement of the tides to produce energy .

The Kislogubskaya project located in Russia on the Barents Sea , was the second plant in the world. The modules of the machines and the turbo generators were manufactured on land and floated to the site. It worked in 1968 and sent electricity to the national grid.

What is tidal energy for?

Tidal energy is used to produce electricity by taking advantage of the energy that is released by the movement of water with the tides , this being one of the most important forms of renewable and ecological energy .

How it is generated

There are three different ways or methods to generate tidal energy, which are:

  • Generator of the tidal current : they use the kinetic energy of the water that is in motion to the power turbines, in a similar way to the wind that the wind turbines use. This is one of the most popular methods because of its low cost and because it has a lower ecological impact on the environment.
  • Tidal dam : they use the potential energy in the difference in height between high and low tides . They are the dikes that we find in the width of an estuary . Their downside is that they have high civil infrastructure costs , a global shortage of viable sites, and environmental issues .
  • Dynamic tidal energy : it is a theoretical generation technology that exploits the interaction between the kinetic and potential energies of the tides. The proposal for its construction says that very long dams must be built from the shores out into the sea.


Tidal power plants are responsible for converting the energy in the tides into electricity and they do so through the use of a turbine . The way they work is very similar to the way a river reservoir works . This operation is relatively simple. When the tide grows or rises will open the gates having the dam which enters the reservoir.

Later, when the reservoir reaches its maximum point , the gates are closed . When the tide falls below the level of the reservoir, it reaches its maximum amplitude between the reservoir and the sea, and the gates open, allowing the water to pass through the turbines through the narrow conduits . Currently, electricity is transported by cables that have been laid on artificial islands , on which there are also more turbines.

Advantages of tidal energy

Among the advantages of tidal energy we mention the following:

  • By not consuming fossil elements or producing greenhouse gases, it is considered a clean and renewable energy .
  • It is a predictable type of energy.
  • It has a safe supply with potential that does not vary dramatically but is limited to tidal and current cycles.
  • It has a fairly long shelf life.
  • Since water is denser than air, electricity can be produced at a low speed.


Among the most common disadvantages that we can find in the use of tidal energy, we mention the following:

  • Create environmental problems .
  • They produce a grounding of the river.
  • General different changes in salinity in and around the estuary.
  • It produces an amplitude of the terrestrial tide .
  • It is a very expensive type of energy mainly for its maintenance.
  • They must be built close to the mainland .


The tidal energy is important because it is a source of renewable energy and easy to install , with no emissions direct of greenhouse gases and also a low impact environment . Because the patterns of ocean tides are well known, tidal energy is a very predictable source of energy that makes it highly attractive for power grid management . This differentiates it from other renewable energies that can be more variable.

Use of tidal energy by country


In Mexico, they have sought to develop the tidal energy generated by means of the waves. The extraction of the natural energy of the waves of the sea is done by means of instruments called buoys. As a result, wave energy is obtained by converting it into reliable , clean and environmentally beneficial electricity .


Turbines are used to take advantage of the tides of the oceans and produce electrical energy with it . The country’s coasts have the capacity to produce approximately the amount of energy equivalent to five nuclear power plants , since many of its coasts are perfect for the placement of tidal plants. Currently only the Motrico plant works to produce this type of electricity.


The country is considered one of the most suitable places to generate this type of energy, specifically in Argentine Patagonia , which includes San Julián, Puerto Santa Cruz, Golfo Nuevo and Golfo de San José in Chubut. Despite the fact that the installation of the instruments to produce it are very high in cost, it is believed that the use of generators similar to wind turbines could work perfectly.

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