There are two types of energy systems that can be used to extracted energy: kinetic energy, the moving water of rivers, tides and open ocean currents; and potential energy from the difference in height (or head) between high and low tides. The first method - generating energy from tidal currents - is becoming more and more popular because people believe that it does not harm the environment as much as barrages or dams. Many coastal sites worldwide are being examined for their suitability to produce tidal (current) energy.
Tidal power is classified as a renewable energy source, because tides are caused by the orbital mechanics of the solar system (ocean currents are caused by the surface effect of winds) and are considered inexhaustible. The root source of the energy is the orbital kinetic energy of the earth-moon system, and also the earth-sun system. Tidal power has great potential for future power and electricity generation because of the essentially inexhaustible amount of energy contained in these rotational systems. Tidal power is reliably predictable (unlike wind power and solar power). In Europe, Tide Mills have been used for nearly 1,000 years, mainly for grinding grains.
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