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The Crucial Role of Tidal Range Schemes in Mitigating Sea Level Rise

Researchers at Lancaster University have found that tidal range plans can shield estuaries and coastal regions from the consequences of sea level rise.

The Crucial Role of Tidal Range Schemes in Mitigating Sea Level Rise

Image Credit: Lancaster University

Tidal range solutions, according to David Vandercruyssen, Simon Baker, David Howard, and George Aggidis of the School of Engineering, are essential for safeguarding homes, companies, and environments from the projected rise in sea level of more than 1 m in the next 80 years.

Postgraduate Researcher David Vandercruyssen noted, “High tides can be limited to existing levels simply by closing sluices and turbines and existing low tide levels can be maintained by pumping.

George Aggidis, Professor, Head of Energy Engineering, added, “Development of estuarine barrages has been hampered by misconceptions about their operation and fears of disturbance of the ecologically sensitive intertidal areas.”

Our studies show that with modern technology and operating procedures, estuarine barrages are the only practical way to protect these vital habitats. Coastal lagoons have also been proposed for several locations around Britain’s coast. Schemes will provide jobs in construction and manufacturing for generations to come, as well as opportunities for transport, communication, conservation, and recreation. In the long-term, they will provide reliable power with reduced costs.

George Aggidis, Professor and Head, Energy Engineering, Lancaster University

Their study, which was published in Energy, builds on previous research from Lancaster University to create a cost-benefit model for tidal range electricity generation, proving the feasibility of tidal range energy in the United Kingdom. This demonstrated how existing dams and weirs can sustain the whole tidal range.

Great Britain has the second largest tidal range in the world, and major barrages have been considered since Victorian times. Globally, there are two large-scale schemes currently in operation, La Rance in France, which was completed in 1967, and Lake Sihwa in South Korea in 2011; both schemes generate significant quantities of cheap, sustainable electricity.

George Aggidis, Professor and Head, Energy Engineering, Lancaster University

Journal Reference:

Vandercruyssen, D.,, (2024). Tidal range electricity generation into the 22nd century. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers.


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