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Tidal Energy Modelling Verification and Validation

Start: 2018 | End: Permanent

As tidal energy is getting prominent as a clean energy source, every country strives to identify the tidal resource potential of their regional waters. There are many modelling tools developed during recent years for ORE resource representation at a macro level. For instance, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has published global atlas for renewable energy to promote renewable energy by increasing awareness of renewable energy potentials and resources available worldwide.

In similar lines, each country plans to predict its tidal energy resource potential to explore and exploit these clean energy resource. However, there is still lack of common understanding in such predictions to achieve detailed assessment of tidal renewable energy resources at a macro and micro level of a specific site. Moreover, such information about the energy potential and the practical extractable energy are important facts towards major decision making towards sustainable energy harvesting.

Presently assessments are made using computational modelling for micro site assessment, however there is a lack of consensus among modelling community in the type of modelling assumptions, types of software and incoming data requirements. This results in lack of credibility of the final resource information predicted from the computational models.

An effort is required from a common body such as OES, to provide useful guidelines for tidal resource mapping through identifying the present practices and to further compare and contrast the various computational tools for resource mapping to identify the correct approach. 

The objectives of this work is to:

  • Survey numerical modelling approach used in tidal-current based energy projects
  • Verification and validation of modelling tools & methodology against specific case studies

Such code to code comparison and detailed methodology studies is expected to provide:

  • New set of guidelines, standards which will mitigate uncertainties and confusions involved in modelling ocean renewable energy systems.
  • Validated numerical methods and standardization of energy yield estimation
  • Reducing risk in project planning and execution of tidal array farms
  • Improved tidal energy yield estimate
  • Incorporating tidal turbine performance data in the energy yield estimate for more accurate feasibility studies in earlier project stages
  • Recommendation of further improvement areas required for the suggested numerical models


Task 1: Identify and access the numerical codes for benchmarking. 

Task 2: Unify different modelling standards and methodologies

Task 3: Standardise the practical energy yield estimation

Task 4: Define recommended numerical approach and methodology

Task 5: Validation and verification of recommended numerical models and practices


Several workshops have been organised aiming to prepare a Tidal Energy Resource Modelling Guideline report through the study of the various factors affecting the result of the simulations. This is likely to be a joint exercise effort concentrating on the accurate modelling and reporting of tidal energy resources. These workshops have been  organised and hosted by Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N), Singapore.

A technical report was prepared in 2023 by a group of experts to showcase diverse ocean modeling strategies employed globally in tidal energy assessments and to address challenges faced by experts in this field. The report aims to conduct a comparative analysis of results from various ocean models, focusing on two case studies – a temperate and a tropical site - to offer solutions for refining tidal resource modeling. Additionally, it introduces key input databases available for ocean modeling, and provide an overview of both commercial and open-source ocean modeling tools.

The OES is organised under the auspices of the International Energy Agency (IEA) but is functionally and legally autonomous. Views, findings and publications of the OES do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the IEA Secretariat or its individual member countries.