Oceanographer highlights limitations to power source

A leading scientist has questioned the efficiency of tidal electricity production around the UK coast in an article in New Scientist Magazine.

Hans van Haren, an oceanographer at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research in Den Burg questions the amount of green power that can be harnessed from the world’s tides, while also pointing out the damage that such turbines can cause to the local ecosystems.

The Crown Estate recently announced several new tidal power generating schemes in the Hebrides, leading Alex Salmond, Scotland’s first minister to describe the waters as the “Saudi Arabia of marine power.”

Van Haren claims there are only about 20 suitable sites on earth for tidal power generation, all of which are rich in marine wildlife. He adds: “On top of that, turbines kill up to 80 per cent of fish passing through them, and changes in current affect nutrient supply, thereby altering the ecology of estuarine life.”

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