The Rance Tidal Power Station bridges the Rance River in Brittany, France. The power plant, which was built by Electricite de France (EDF), usurps tides coming from the Gulf of Saint-Malo on the Atlantic Ocean to turn its 24 turbines. The generators work with a combination of tidal power and propeller-driven turbine engines.

Photograph by Dani7C3 (Wikipedia)

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  • On November 26, 1966, French President Charles de Gaulle opened the world’s first tidal power station on the Rance Estuary in Brittany, France. Tidal power converts the energy of tides into electricity. In much the same way a windmill uses the motion of air to turn its blades, tidal power stations use the motion of water to turn large turbines. Tidal power is more reliable than other types of alternative energy, such solar or wind power, because tides are constant and predictable. Tidal power has great potential to replace fossil fuels as a major source of the world’s electrical power.
    Rance Tidal Power Station is still providing electricity to Brittany. The plant has 24 turbines, which generate 600 million kilowatt-hours of electricity every year. The station cost more than $100 million to build, but has recovered all of its costs through savings from the generation of electricity. The electricity generated by the Rance station costs less than nuclear or solar power.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    convert Verb

    to change from one thing to another.

    electricity Noun

    set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and flow of electric charge.

    energy Noun

    capacity to do work.

    estuary Noun

    mouth of a river where the river's current meets the sea's tide.

    Encyclopedic Entry: estuary
    fossil fuel Noun

    coal, oil, or natural gas. Fossil fuels formed from the remains of ancient plants and animals.

    potential Noun


    predictable Adjective

    regular or able to be forecasted.

    tide Noun

    rise and fall of the ocean's waters, caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun.

    Encyclopedic Entry: tide
    turbine Noun

    machine that captures the energy of a moving fluid, such as air or water.

    windmill Noun

    instrument that generates power from the force of wind rotating large blades.

    wind power Noun

    rate of producing, transferring, or using wind energy, usually measured in watts.