Is Tidal Power the Future of Green Energy?

Imagine a structure, 24 times longer than the Hoover Dam, stretching out into the sea. Its 9-kilometer wall curves towards the horizon before returning to rejoin the coast, creating a giant artificial lagoon. Under the water line, a channel fitted with 16 turbines connects the lagoon to the ocean. As the tide goes in and out, the lagoon fills and drains, spinning the turbines to generate more than 530 gigawatt-hours of clean electricity each year—enough to power 155,000 homes.

If this sounds like an engineering challenge too far, it’s not. The Swansea Bay tidal lagoon in South Wales might have taken as little as three years to start generating power if approved. Yet it was never built. The issue? Money. The UK government turned down the £1.3 billion ($1.46 billion) project in 2018 on the grounds that it was too expensive.

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