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An Operational Hydrodynamic Model of a key tidal-energy site: Inner Sound of Stroma, Pentland Firth (Scotland, UK)

Date: October 15, 2013 at 17:04 GMT

Abstract: As a result of significant progress towards the delivery of tidal-stream power the industry is moving swiftly towards the deployment of precommercial arrays.

Meanwhile important sites, such as the Pentland Firth, are being made available for development. It is now crucial that we consider how the installation of tidal-stream devices will interact with their host environment. Surveying and modelling of the marine system prior to development is a prerequisite to identifying any significant changes associated with tidal energy deployment.

Faced with these challenges, this work focuses on the construction of a high-resolution operational model of the Inner Sound of Stroma, Pentland Firth. Detailed in situ measurements from the Inner Sound are used to ensure that the model can accurately simulate its true dynamics. The model is subsequently modified to simulate an idealised tidal energy fence. Results reveal a significant power potential from the Inner Sound, but with a caveat of severe alterations to the natural tidal currents.

However, tidal current changes are less severe when considering more modest levels of power extraction. 

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