Presently, Pakistan is confronted with a power crisis due to reduction in conventional sources of energy. There is a wide gap between demand and supply of electricity. The need for exploring alternative environmental-friendly and renewable energy resources has, therefore, become more important. Tidal power is the clean and white energy technology, which is available at no fuel cost and minimal running cost. Tides are ultimately due to gravitational interaction with the moon and the sun and the earths rotation, tidal power is practically inexhaustible and classified as a renewable energy resource.
Tidal power, sometimes also called tidal energy, is the form of hydro-power that converts the energy of tides into electricity. The largest tidal power station in the world is in the Rance estuary in northern France, near Mont Saint Michel. It was built in 1966 and generates annually 600 million kWh using its 24 turbines of 10 MW. The coastline of Pakistan, which is about 1,045km-long with dominant features, is the best resource for harnessing the tidal energy.
Tidal energy resources present in the oceans are of much higher density and better reliability than any other renewable for the likely future.
In Sindh, two sites, creek system of Indus delta of 170km and two to five metres tidal heights at the Korangi Creek, are available to exploit the tidal energy. Sonmiani and Kalamat are also good prospects of tidal energy in Balochistan.
Although tidal power is predictable and available in the form of blocks of energy, it may not solve the energy crisis, but can decrease reliance on fossil fuels. It can spread our energy resources and meet stringent greenhouse gas emission targets. A major drawback of the tidal power stations is that they can only generate when the tide is flowing in or out. However, tides are totally predictable, so we can plan to have other power stations generating at those times when the tidal station is out of action.
Some think that tidal power plants in coastal creeks of Pakistan can serve the energy crisis conundrum up to some level.
Amad Ali Abro