Tidal Energy Scheme to Go On Stream

Tidal Energy Scheme to Go On Stream Tidal Energy Scheme to Go On Stream

Tidal and wave energy potentials were identified in the southern regions in Iran over the past year, based on which a pilot renewable energy scheme will go on stream soon,  head of the research department at Iran's Renewable Energy Organization (SUNA) said Monday, ISNA reported.

SUNA collected data and assessed renewable energy potential in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman during the last Iranian calendar year (ended March 20), Akbar Shabanikia said, adding that energy potential in Qeshm Island was thoroughly assessed, and full funding for Khor Musa region has been allocated.

Khor Musa, located in the southern Bushehr Province, is one of the suitable sites for tidal energy investment due to its natural spiral formation. The characteristics of the site would allow it to store water at spring tide, and return the stored water at neap tide.

Assessments conducted on Qeshm Island's potentials are currently being analyzed, the official said. The analyses are aimed at determining the turbines that should be utilized, depending on the type of currents and the energy potentials therein.  

Upon finalization of analyses, a pilot tidal energy supply scheme will be set up for the southern coastal regions and the Persian Gulf islands. The pilot scheme would help determine methodology of prospect developments, in particular manufacturing of turbines.

Large underwater turbines are placed in areas with high tidal movements, and are designed to capture the kinetic motion of the ebbing and surging of ocean tides in order to produce electricity.

Iran Renewable Energy Initiative Council (REIC) and the Water Research Institute are collaborating with SUNA in manufacturing the turbines, Shabanikia said, adding that a water turbine laboratory has been established recently.

"The laboratory will help ensure high quality equipment are supplied to the domestic market," he added. Since renewable energy is a relatively new to Iran, such laboratories would come to the aid of further research, development, and manufacturing of equipment.

As a renewable source of energy, tidal power is produced by the surge of ocean waters during the rise and fall of tides. Tidal energy production is still in its infancy. The amount of power produced so far has been small. There are very few commercial-sized tidal power plants operating in the world. Tidal power has great potential for future power and electricity generation because of the massive size of the oceans.

However, the main barrier to promoting the use of this type of energy is construction costs. Although technology required for harnessing and usage of tidal power is well developed, there is a high capital cost for a tidal energy project, with a possibly 10-year construction period. Thus, the electricity produced thereby may not be economical in comparison with that which is produced by other means.