A company in Scotland on Thursday announced it set the world record for producing electricity from the natural undulation of the ocean in the latest advance for a clean power source that’s still in its infancy.
Tidal power uses massive, submerged turbines that function as underwater windmills to produce electricity, pivoting into the current and spinning as the tide goes in and out.
The technology takes advantage of the daily shift in sea levels caused by the gravitational pull of the moon, sun, and rotation of Earth, which can make tidal energy more predictable than wind or solar. Because water is over 800 times more dense than air, tidal energy rotors can also be significantly more compact than those used for wind turbines, which have diameters up to 300 feet.
The company, Atlantis Resources Limited, produced over 700 megawatt hours in August at its flagship underwater MeyGen production site, located in the Pentland Firth, a strait that separates the Orkney Islands from Caithness in the north of Scotland.
“August proved to be a world-record month, providing enough energy to power 2,000 Scottish homes from just two turbines,” said David Taaffe, director of project delivery at the MeyGen site.