A drone
A drone. Above the sea.

Some scientists across in the UK are using drones to map potential tidal electricity sites:

…Scientists in Scotland and Wales have identified drones as a promising improvement over ways they normally scout sites for capturing marine energy. As a result, the researchers from the University of the Highlands and Islands, Bangor University, and Swansea University have launched a 12-month program using drones to speed the effort to transform oceanic power into electricity.

The officials say the clear, powerful videos that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) can shoot allow them to use aerial footage in their calculations. Once fed to algorithms that determine the speed of water currents filmed, the researchers determine which spots are best suited to energy-generating tidal stream turbines. That prospecting work is currently done using sea floor sensors and observation vessels – both involving a lot more time, money, and human labor than piloting drones do.

UK scientists using drones in selecting tidal power installations

Tidal streams are most powerful for electrical generation when a large mass of water tries to move through a narrow channel – hence some opportunities off the coast of Scotland.

The Isle of Man’s tidal streams are unlikely to be powerful enough for much electrical generation – especially since it is doubtful that the public would tolerate the possible disruption to the seals at the Calf of Mann if a tidal generator was installed there.