The use of devices which harness tidal energy to make electricity is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. The RYA explains how these devices work and how they can affect recreational boating.
Marine renewable energy covers a range of technologies including wave, tidal and ocean thermal energy conversion. Unlike the three-bladed turbines used to capture wind energy, there is a large range of technologies used to harness tidal energy. The process by which the most popular technologies work can be seen below, but in practice, they could look very different both in size and shape.
There are a number of tidal energy sites already leased within UK waters. The Crown Estate website lists information about each project, including test sites, and where each site is in the planning process. You can also click on the image below for a larger view of The Crown Estate map.
Whilst the RYA acknowledges the Government's desire to promote renewable energy, it is keen to ensure that the navigational safety of recreational craft is safeguarded around the coast.
The RYA has developed a detailed position statement on offshore renewable tidal energy developments, based on recreational craft data, which it provides to every developer during the consultation process. The RYA believes that the impact that tidal energy installations have on recreational boating can be minimised provided developers fully consider the following key points:
The RYA has also carried out an extensive mapping project to identify the main cruising routes, sailing and racing areas to better inform the management process. Initially this culminated in a detailed description of cruising routes, racing and sailing areas for the three strategic wind farm development areas in 2004 and is reported in the document 'Sharing the Wind'.
This project then evolved to cover the whole of the UK following considerable demand from the offshore renewable energy industry. In 2005, with funding from Trinity House, the RYA produced the first UK Coastal Atlas of Recreational Boating. This dataset has since been updated and is now regularly incorporated into developers’ consultations and navigational risk assessments.