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Difference Between Wind Power and Tidal Power

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Wind Power vs Tidal Power

With wind farms being built off-shore, some people think about employing the power of the sea to power our homes. More appropriately called tidal power, it extracts the energy in the moving tide and converts it into electricity; just like how wind turbines converts wind energy into electricity. The main difference between wind power and tidal power is reliability. Wind is not really a very predictable phenomenon, although you can estimate how frequent and how strong it would be. In comparison, the rise and fall of the tide is very predictable even how high or how low it would be.

When it comes to placement, wind power has the upper hand because of the greater number of places where you can place wind farms. It can be placed on mountains, plains, beaches, and even off-shore. In contrast, tidal power plants need to be in a very specific place; often at the mouth of rivers or in the beach. This puts a restriction on where you can employ tidal power.

A major disadvantage of tidal power is its great impact on the environment, more importantly on the wildlife. Some tidal power plants increase the salinity of the water because it blocks the free flow of water. The fast moving turbines could also suck fish like salmon and the dams could prevent their swim upriver. Wind farms have very minimal impact on the environment. The blades turn slowly, although there are some reports that birds do hit them. Probably the biggest complaint about wind farms is that they seem to be an eyesore for some people.

With every renewable energy source, the bulk of the cost is in the initial outlay. Tidal power is at a major disadvantage here because the cost of construction is very high and the recovery takes a very long time. In contrast, wind turbines can be built in plants and assembled on-site. This significantly reduces the cost of construction. The ability to add wind turbines one at a time also reduces the risk to investors.

Right now, wind power is more attractive than tidal power. But research on other means to harness tidal power continues. So new and better ways to maximize efficiency and reduce costs may still be undiscovered.


  1. Tidal power is more reliable than wind power
  2. Tidal power is more restricted in location than wind power
  3. Tidal power has a greater environmental impact than wind power
  4. Tidal power requires greater investment than wind power


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