Volume 1: Proceedings of Applied Energy Symposium: MIT A+B, United States, 2019

Increasing the Accuracy of Initial Feasibility Studies – Utilising Numerical Models to Estimate the LCoE of Floating Tidal Energy Platforms John McDowell, Penny Jeffcoate, Lars Johanning, Tom Bruce, Weichao Shi


This paper utilizes numerical modelling techniques to estimate the MetOcean conditions in regions with potential for tidal energy development. Understanding and incorporating these MetOcean site characteristics into the initial stages of a feasibility study, will increase the accuracy of economic viability predictions. This more comprehensive approach will assist in building investor confidence, as the previously overlooked or unknown lifetime costs can be estimated and included in the choice of ultimate deployment position. Another advantage of this approach is that it uses freely available data, allowing site assessments to determine project feasibility, without high upfront investment. Freely available astronomic, bathymetric and meteorological data was therefore input into a Delft3D-FM simulation of the Bay of Fundy. Models were calibrated with tide gauge, flowmeter and wave buoy data to output spatially and temporally varying estimates of tidal height, flow velocity and significant wave height. Results demonstrate that areas of highest resource are the most profitable, but sheltered areas with lower flow speeds are also highly economically viable. For an emerging technology sector with relatively limited operational experience, it is recommended that these areas of less risky investment opportunity should be targeted by tidal energy developers.

Keywords Floating Tidal Energy, Site Selection, Weather Windows, Numerical Modelling

Copyright ©
Energy Proceedings