AS WE continue to rely on unsustainable energy sources, the prospect of a safe future is drifting further and further away. You only had to look at last month’s record high temperatures to see we’re all in dire straits.  

In this critical time of need the Welsh and UK governments must take another look at their current energy strategies. Our little island, which is historically the fifth biggest carbon polluter 1 in history, desperately needs to reduce the continued reliance on gas and coal to deliver base load and base load is as important as oxygen to us humans because “Nuclear, Biomass and imported power provide a steady base load of energy with gas and coal being constantly adjusted around intermittent renewable energy, in order to meet demand.”

To offer some context of where Wales is now, in the first quarter of 2022, around 45.5% 2 of electricity generated in Wales came from renewable sources. Against a 70% target for renewable energy generation by 2030, some progress has been made, but I don’t think it’s nearly enough to meet this objective, with less than eight years away.

It remains clear, we need to adopt a far more diverse perspective regarding our green energy infrastructure. With this in mind, I think it is time to take a serious look at the world’s most overlooked renewable resources, one which Wales has in abundance: tidal range.

Fundamentally, tidal range can provide a solution to the challenge of delivering consistent and abundant green base load. Moreover, Wales can play a prominent role in realising this important emerging industry.

Let me explain…

What needs to be done for tidal?

It isn’t fair to say the UK is doing nothing to tackle global warming. However, whilst we’re making some positive moves, I’d still like to see more done, particularly focusing energy on achieving 100% renewable and sustainable base load.

Unfortunately, we’re still pretty far off achieving this ambition, and I fear that with the current national and local strategy, we may never do so.

Significant investment has been, and continues to be, allocated to solar and wind energy. That’s no bad thing in itself, and I welcome any funding for renewables, but it cannot be the full picture. Ultimately, these sources of energy are inherently intermittent and cannot, and never will, deliver the amounts of energy we need to achieve base load.

This leaves the UK playing a risky game of chance in terms of energy security.

The good news is we have an opportunity to change the rules of the game to our advantage, and I believe Wales can take a calculated roll of the dice, showcasing the potential of tidal range energy and its ability to guarantee green base load generation.

Sounds great, doesn’t it, particularly in a peninsula surrounded by some of the best tidal ranges in the world, second only to the Minas Passage, otherwise known as the ‘Everest of tidal energy’, in Canada’s Bay of Fundy. However, tidal range energy remains an outlier, yet to be given serious consideration in our government’s energy strategy.

Stuart Murphy, Founder & Inventor, TPGen24

Tidal vs wind and solar

We need to send a clear message to our Governments that tidal range must rise the agenda and be given the proper attention it deserves. To do this, supporters of this renewable need to make the clear case, especially for Wales.

For a start, the Welsh coast, which spans 1680 miles, has areas that provide some of the best tides in the world. For example, Llandudno to the Point of Ayr and the Severn Estuary are perfect locations to build offshore ‘Power Islands’ and put Wales’ on the world stage.

It’s something my team and I at TPGen24 3 have been trying to realise for the past decade. Not only that, we want to make Wales the showcase nation for achieving clean, perpetually delivered base load. That’s why we’ve designed our power islands specifically to generate 24/7, 365 days a year by controlling the water flow during the rise and fall of the tides.

It’s a real game changer and, if commissioned, will present myriad opportunities not only for Wales but the rest of the UK, and the rest of the world wherever excellent tidal ranges exist.

Changing perceptions on renewable energy

There are those who still have reservations about tidal energy, but I would like to suggest they consider the alternatives before making up their mind up.

Would they like to plonk a radioactive waste-producing nuclear power station that may provide ‘risky’ power for up to 50 years. Meanwhile, TPGen24 tidal power islands could produce power for hundreds of years. Its madness to side with some of our ‘wise’ politicians by building more unsightly intermittent offshore wind turbines or fill up valuable agricultural land with solar panels.

Renewable energy is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if you know how and where to look. The moon generates tidal gravity has the potential to revolutionise the energy world. Not just in this country because tidal gravity is a global resource.

Yet, there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding large tidal range investment, and I cannot understand why as we still seem to stump up billions for other resources, which have plenty of flaws (e.g. Hinkley Point C), yet still command great swathes of funding.

It’s my opinion that we should at least consider tidal range as a viable option, like-for-like alongside of the renewable and low carbon options.

Reviving our coasts

Ultimately, tidal range energy has more, wider-reaching benefits, providing a cascade of opportunities for businesses and communities nationwide.

Not only will this major infrastructure create a wealth of jobs in many industries, but it will also have a regenerative effect on some of our most deprived coast areas, sparking economic revival and urban renewal. Going further it could position Wales as a leader in other complementary fields such as Green Hydrogen (produced from renewables) and its associated industries.

At the end of the day, Water is ‘Nature’s Battery’, and tidal range is the final major untapped resource available to help battle the ongoing struggle with climate change.

It’s now time for Wales to step up and realise one of its most valuable yet overlooked natural resources-Tidal Range which it has in abundance.

  1. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1224173/cumulative-co2-emissions-united-kingdom-since-1750/
  2. https://committees.parliament.uk/work/833/renewable-energy-in-wales/news/146982/what-are-wales-renewable-energy-opportunities/#:~:text=Wales%20is%20currently%20producing%2025,through%20a%20number%20of%20schemes
  3. https://tidalpower24.com/

(Disclaimer: This is an Op-Ed piece by Stuart Murphy, founder and inventor of TPGen24. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author)