The concept is to put a turbine in in areas where the tides are most powerful. As the tides rise and fall, they spin the turbine (sort of how the wind spines wind turbines) and that creates energy. This process is still in the beginning stages, but so far it is looking quite beneficial for communities along the coast, where it would be very green and useful.
Tidal power is just like it sounds: the generation of energy, using the ocean’s tides as the source. This is achieved through generators that are powered by turbines, situated in areas where strong tidal behavior is present. These generators capture and mimic the kinetic force that is churned by the ebb and flow of the tides. Due to the high volume of oceans, and the renewability of tidal forces, tidal power has great potential as an energy source.
Personally, the best way to think of tidal power is the same as wind power. Both use turbines and both are reliant on currents, either water or air. Tidal power redirects the energy produced from ocean currents to a power station to produce electricity to varying outlets. Tidal power like other alternative energy sources is still in its infancy. That was about as unscientific an explanation as you will ever find.
What duckyduh is describing is wave energy, which is technically a different technology than tidal power. Tidal power involves trapping tides behind reservoirs, such that when the tide recedes, the trapped water in the reservoirs can be let out like a hydroelectric dam. This tidal technology is currently installed, whereas wave energy has yet to see any commercial applications.
That being said, here is a link to some great wave energy projects on the horizon:
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