Research paper: A review of tidal energy-Resource, feedbacks, and environmental interactions
The ocean contains a variety of renewable energy resources, little of which has been exploited. Here, we review both tidal range and tidal
stream energy, with a focus on the resource, feedbacks, and environmental interactions. The review covers a wide range of timescales of
relevance to tidal energy, from fortnightly (spring-neap) and semi-diurnal variability, down to array, and device-scale turbulence. When simulating the regional tidal energy resource, and to assess environmental impacts, it is necessary to account for feedbacks between the tidal
array and the resource itself. We critically review various methods for simulating energy extraction, from insights gained through theoretical
studies of “tidal fences” in idealized channels, to realistic three-dimensional model studies with complex geometry and arrays of turbines represented by momentum sinks and additional turbulence due to the presence of rotors and support structures. We discuss how variability can
be reduced by developing multiple (aggregated) sites with a consideration of the enhanced phase diversity offered by exploiting less energetic
tidal currents. This leads to future research questions that have not yet been explored in depth at first-generation tidal sites in relatively sheltered channels (e.g., the interaction of waves with currents). Such enhanced understanding of real sea conditions, including the effects of
wind and waves, leads to our other identified primary future research direction—reduced uncertainties in turbulence predictions, including
the development of realistic models that simulate the interaction between ambient turbulence and the turbulence resulting from multiple
wakes, and changes to system-wide hydrodynamics, water quality, and sedimentation.
Simon P. Neill, Kevin A. Haas, Jérôme Thiébot, et al.