Tidal Energy

Wave of the Future


Through the rotation of earth and the gravitational pull of the moon and sun, tides are created. Tides provide energy for turbines on the seafloor. The change in sea levels also help provide energy.

Change in Sea Level

The mechanism used runs like a dam and is called a barrage.

When the tide falls and gets low enough, water flows through the higher, upstream side to the downstream side. During this process, a turbine is turned, located inside the barrage. This vast water movement rotates the turbine and produces energy. This specific design can also be reversed (downstream to upstream).


These turbines are almost like a wind turbine, just under water. Currents at the bottom of the ocean turn the blades on the generator and produce energy.

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Environmental Impacts

  • Decreases greenhouse gas emissions (carbon free)

  • No pollution involved

  • Impacts shoreline and aquatic ecosystems in a negative way

  • Older models-devastate fish population


Determined by size of barrage and difference between high and low tide. (no specific cost) Generally very expensive to construct


  • Reliable

  • Predictable pattern (more than wind and sunlight)

  • Renewable

  • Continuously available


  • Electricity
  • Grain mills
  • Store energy
  • Protect the coast in high storms
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Ease of use in Eastern South Dakota

This type of energy requires some sort of coast line, and South Dakota is not near an ocean. Therefore, due to it's location, a tidal energy source wouldn’t necessarily work here.


  • Installation and running a station can disturb the local ecosystem balance

  • Best tidal currents could be located too far away or in shipping channels


This can be an eye-sore from the beautiful beach. Even though most of the machinery is under water, some parts are still visible from the coast. Depending on which machine is built, there may be pole-like structures popping out or a bridge-like design stretched wide.

More Information

Material Required

  • Cement

  • Steel

  • Turbines

  • Barrages


  • Periodic marine growth removal on submerged sections

  • Full cable inspections

  • Annual maintenance of substations- part of an electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system

  • Possibility of replacing parts

  • Component design duty

  • Fluid pumping systems


New Barrage-100 years