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.
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.

Noun

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

fossil fuel
Noun

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

potential
Noun

possibility.

predictable
Adjective

regular or able to be forecasted.

Noun

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

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.