It is estimated that tidal power could generate around 20% of Britain’s requirements and Scotland and the UK generally are seen as world leaders in tidal energy research.
There are great practical challenges associated with this form of hydropower and only around twenty sites in the world have been identified as being ideal locations for large scale tidal power arrays, but eight of these sites are to be found in Britain, potentially making the UK a key player in the World Green Energy market.
The Severn, Dee, Solway and Humber estuaries are all potential sites for tidal energy generating barrages in the UK, while Islay and the Pentland Firth are to host tidal turbine arrays already. The Pentland Firth, the narrow run of water between the north-east tip of Scotland and the Orkney islands, is possibly the best place in the world to generate electricity from the movement of the tides. It is estimated that around 8 TWh could be generated by tidal power in the Pentland Firth, representing 8% of total UK electricity consumption.