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Could the UK's tides help wean us off fossil fuels?

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on BBC News or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The UK is delving deeper into the potential of tidal energy and while there have been significant advancements in wind and solar technologies, tidal power, with its predictability and vast potential, remains largely untapped
• The UK's unique geographical advantages, especially its strong tidal streams, make it a prime candidate to lead the way in tidal energy research and implementation

🔭 The context: While wind and solar energy can be unpredictable, tidal power, driven by the moon's gravitational pull, offers a consistent and reliable energy source thanks to its regular tides
• The UK's position, especially around areas like the Orkney Islands, provides strong tidal streams, making it an ideal location for harnessing tidal energy

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Utilizing tidal energy can significantly reduce the UK's reliance on fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources
• By providing a steady and reliable stream of power, the need for backup energy sources, which often have environmental impacts, can be minimized
• This transition to tidal energy can play a pivotal role in the global shift towards more sustainable energy solutions

⏭️ What's next: Various innovative projects are underway to harness the power of tides: MeyGen is installing underwater turbines on the seafloor, while the Orbital O2 employs a unique design that floats on the surface with turbines submerged
• The UK government is offering significant subsidies to the tidal energy industry, aiming to reduce costs and enhance its viability in the energy mix

💬 One quote: "Tidal power has really significant potential (…) yet it has never been developed at scale" (Dr Amanda Smyth, University of Oxford)

📈 One stat: The UK government recently funded eleven tidal energy projects, promising a rate of £198 per megawatt hour, highlighting their strong support for this renewable energy

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