Tidal Energy, The Renewable Unicorn

Tidal energy is a form of hydropower that converts energy obtained from the tides into electricity. Island nations, like Japan and the Republic of China (Taiwan) have longed for the day that tidal energy would one day become a viable source of power.

The world’s first large scale tidal energy project began operation in 1966, off the northern coast of France. The world’s largest tidal energy project is the 254 MW Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station in South Korea.

The greatest challenge in the development of tidal energy is the intensity of the ocean’s tides and currents. The relentless pounding of the ocean on the equipment has resulted in frequent equipment failure. As a result, the cost to generate electricity from tidal energy has been more expensive than fossil fuels, nuclear energy or other renewables, like wind, solar or hydropower.
The quest to harness the ocean’s tides and currents is still continuing around the world. European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland provides developers of wave and tidal energy technology open-sea testing facilities.

Magallanes Renovables has recently announced it has successfully generated electricity from tidal energy at the EMEC. The company designs and manufactures floating platforms which have the capacity to generate energy through the use of marine currents. Magallanes Renovables was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Redondela, Spain.

Magallanes Renewables’ tidal energy system successfully generated electricity in the initial test in March 2019. The initial results are encouraging, although additional testing is planned prior to moving into commercial production. Magallanes Renovables’ project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.

A successful Magallanes Renovables tidal energy project will add another sustainable, reliable energy source to replace fossil fuels. Tidal energy would allow countries like Japan and Taiwan to stop importing costly fossil fuels and move to clean renewable energy, dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps Magallanes Renovables will unlock the key to tidal energy, the unicorn of renewable energy.


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