Water on the Brain

Wind 3.24%, speed 1 – 21 mph, hydro 1.52%, 0915 local time

July 7, 2016

The pathetic contribution of 35,000 wind turbines to demand in England, Scotland, Ulster and Wales is painfully clear after only a month of monitoring. Very probably the same ghastly picture is true in the Republic of Ireland, that of the sinking Titanic. The Welsh Assembly is responsible for the complete failure to build tidal lagoons because it is fixated by a faded ideology, imported from far away zealots long ago.”

Do you really know how tidal lagoons work, Ron? You did not mention it here, but you usually link the proposed lagoon at Swansea to the phenomenal tidal range of the Bristol Channel. This implies that you believe that they work in the same way that tidal barrages do. They do not. If they are used like barrages (i.e. ‘passively’), they yield some 3.3W/m^2. By using a simple ‘trick’, this output can be doubled. The trick also means that the tidal range is almost irrelevant and that the best location depends upon other factors. The optimum UK locations for tidal lagoons are probably The Wash and the Irish Sea (near Liverpool). Could it be that the people behind the Swansea scheme also believe that the tidal range is the key factor?  Not only is that a mistake, it is also obvious that the output scales as the square of the length dimension, while the cost is only a linear function of length. This means that a lagoon should be as big as possible. Is there room at Swansea for one of optimum cost-effectiveness? The craziest fact that you clearly do not know is that tidal lagoons can be built on land! So what is the ‘trick’ that changes everything? Work it out for yourself. You would not believe us anyway because … it sounds far too much like a 19th-century perpetual-motion scam!

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