The number of distributed resources for renewable energy installed worldwide has been increasing rapidly in the last decade, and the great majority of these installations consist of solar panels and wind turbines. Other renewable sources of energy are not exploited to the same level: for instance, tidal energy is still a minute portion of the global energy capacity, in spite of the large amount of potential energy stored in tidal waves, and of the successful experience of the few existing plants. The world’s second largest tidal range occurs in the UK but at the moment tidal installations in this country are limited to a few prototypes. More recently, there has been a renewed interest in harnessing tidal energy in the UK, and a few tidal lagoon projects have been evaluated by the UK government. This paper provides an overview of the historical and current developments of tidal plants, a description of operation of tidal lagoons, challenges and opportunities for their integration within the UK energy systems and solutions to improve the dispatchability of tidal energy. The concepts described in the paper are applied to a tidal project proposed for South Wales.
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