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Tides could provide 5 percent of UK’s electricity

estuaryEstuary barrages in the North West could provide as much as 5 percent of the UK’s electricity needs, according to engineers at the University of Liverpool.

The engineers studied the tidal energy potential of barrages across the Solway Firth, Morecambe Bay and the Mersey and Dee estuaries. The most effective way to generate energy from such barrages, they found, was to use ‘ebb generation,” which collects water as the tide comes in and releases water back through turbines after the tide has gone out.

In addition to generating clean electricity, the barrages could also act as a sea defence and help alleviate flooding by providing drainage after heavy rains.

“With concerns mounting over the UK’s future energy provision it will soon become paramount that all sources of renewable energy are fully developed,” said Richard Burrows from the university’s Maritime Environmental and Water Systems Research Group. “Unlike the wind, tides are absolutely predictable. The geographical location of the UK, and the seas that surround it, provide a great platform for marine renewable sources.”

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