Whilst wind power is the most effective source of renewable energy and by far the most commonly known, there is another source of renewable energy which is beginning to grow and provide many jobs across the UK…this renewable source is the tidal power energy!
But why is this specific energy source beginning to provide us with a larger number of tidal energy jobs as opposed to any other renewable sector?
What Is Tidal Energy?
With a big clue in the name, tidal energy comes from the movement of the tides in our oceans. As the water rises and falls, this creates a kinetic energy which begins the process to produces tidal power.
In turn, the tidal power surrounds the gravitational hydropower, and this uses the constant flow of the water to power an underwater turbine which in turn generates electricity.
Tidal energy is very similar to the very popular wind power; however, this renewable energy source is produced underwater as opposed to above sea level.
It is important to not get this confused with offshore wind turbines as these are still above sea level and do not require the ocean and water to generate the energy.
As well as tidal turbines, tidal energy can also be produced from tidal barrages. These are walls or dams which capture and store kinetic energy present within the flowing water. A wall is built, with the bottom being on the seabed and the top being just above the highest level the water reaches.
Underwater tunnels are cut into these walls which allow sea water to calmly flow through the sluice gates. As the water flows through, underwater turbines are powered, and tidal energy is collected!
Now having covered the basics of where tidal energy comes from, we can begin to discuss the tidal industry and the exciting rise of jobs associated with this sector!
The Urgency To Find More Renewable Energy
Unfortunately, tidal energy is still uncommon and certainly not used as much as other renewable sources such as wind or solar!
This is mainly down to the fact of cost and the limited number of adequate areas and locations to install appropriate tidal generation units.
However, with the 2022 Climate Change Report stating that we will pass the 1.5˚C threshold by 2040 if we do not take radical actions against climate change, it is a crucial time to make a difference to our planet!
It is now or never to discover more ways to reduce our carbon emissions and produce eco-friendly, greener, and less damaging energy!
Whilst you may be thinking that there is so much space to put tidal turbines, after all the ocean accounts for 71% of the earth’s surface, this is not the case.
After all, there are a number of factors which all need to be addressed in order justify a generation plant being installed.
Before a turbine can be installed underwater, a series of tests must be carried out, such as engineering challenges and the adverse effects it could have on the marine life and ecosystem in the local vicinity.
Tidal energy is much more predictable than wind or solar due to the constant flow of tidal currents all attributed to the gravitational force affecting the ocean…but only areas with strong currents would produce enough kinetic energy to warrant a generator being installed.
Areas which are considered suitable for this often do not have number of suitably qualified individuals to help install and operate these units. As such, there has been a renewed push to advertise and offer more employment opportunities in this sector.
An Increase In Jobs
Unfortunately, the tidal energy infrastructure is much further behind its wind power counterpart, and accordingly the technology for this renewable source has not developed as much as we would have hoped for…if this is to develop further, more jobs and positions need to become available.
With prime areas being low on job vacancies, this is the perfect opportunity to increase jobs in tidal energy across the UK.
By 2030, it is expected that tidal technology could generate up to £1.4bn for the UK whilst generating 4,000 jobs. These jobs will cover a multitude of roles ranging from research to construction and operations.
As this renewable energy is so predictable, engineers can begin to focus on designing more efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly technology! This energy is still very much unknown to many people and is still considered untouched.
However, this could all change soon as the UK is found to have the second strongest tidal waves in the world, which is vital for renewable energy progression.
Studies show that if tidal energy uptake is embraced across the UK, 11% of the current annual electricity demands could be covered alone.
This can be seen as a major breakthrough due to locations for this energy being few and far between.
Providing the country receive sufficient funding, support, and most importantly permission, we can see a new capacity of 10GW by 2030 being delivered!
Why Are Tidal Energy Jobs On The Rise In The UK
In conclusion, the reason that jobs are on the rise in the UK across this sector is simply down to the key bit of information we mentioned above. The UK is home to the second strongest tidal currents across the world and the strongest across Europe.
With this untapped potential, the UK could take lead on the global tidal energy market. The current 30 key global sites having tidal generators which could supply 6GW of power – enough to power almost 5.6 million homes shows a roadmap the UK could follow.
The Future Of Tidal Energy In The UK
By 2050, the future of tidal energy in the UK is looking very bright for everyone, with 23,500 new jobs on the horizon and the potential to secure £76bn towards the future of the tidal market. We can expect to see this overlooked renewable energy appear and take over every other source of energy out there.
With so many different sectors within this industry, we can be sure that there will be a multitude of different jobs out there to suit everybody!