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Understanding the interactions of tidal power projects across the UK Continental Shelf

Date: November 05, 2013 at 15:34 GMT

Renewable energy extraction from tidal range and/or tidal current technologies in a particular area will affect differently the hydrodynamics of the local tidal system, impacting the tidal resource at the particular site. Ther may also be a regional effect on the hydrodynamic, impacting other tidal energy extraction schemes’ resource and potential energy yield. The impact of large scale and/or widespread tidal energy extraction on the tidal energy resource is therefore important to understand in order to inform optimisation and management of the UK tidal resource. 

This paper demonstrates that, at a UK level, credible deployment scenarios for energy extraction from tidal current technologies generally have no impact on tidal range deployments, and only in extreme cases do tidal range deployments have a (minimal) impact on tidal current deployments. Therefore, apart from in certain regions where there could be large scale deployment of tidal range and tidal current schemes, the resource for tidal range technologies can be largely managed independently of that for tidal current technologies.

Nevertheless, significant impacts are demonstrated on the hydrodynamics at both the energy extraction site and more regionally, meaning that optimisation and management of the resource is important for all stakeholders. 

In UK waters, large scale utilisation of the tidal resource requires significant optimisation to avoid potentially unacceptable cumulative impacts and to ensure the most energy can be extracted from the resource (potentially at least cost, with least impact on the grid etc.). 

In some extreme scenarios, there are such significant changes in tidal range that (flooding) impacts would be perceived as unacceptable in relatively distant areas and in other countries (e.g. Ireland, Wales, Scotland).

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