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Natural Currents Energy Services, LLC Potential Tidal Power for New Jersey, A Statewide Survey Sponsored by NJDOT and UTRC Report 140-01

Literature Survey: Tidal Energy Power Generation – History and Current Status

Hansong Tang1, Roger Bason2 1 2

City College, City Univ. of New York

Natural Currents Energy Services, LLC September 27, 2010

Renewable energy is becoming a favorable alternative to conventional energy sources for the generation of electric power, which is mainly produced from fossil fuels at the current time and as one of important renewable alternatives, tidal energy is increasingly attracting attention worldwide (Rourke, et al. 2009). Tidal energy consists of potential and kinetic components. Tidal power facilities can be categorized into two main types: tidal barrages and tidal current turbines, which use the potential and kinetic energy of the tides, respectively (Lemonis and Cutler, 2004). Since the mid 1960’s, tidal barrage technologies have been implemented for actual power generation at La Rance, France. The barrage is 720 m long and encloses a surface area of 22 km2 of the estuary. The barrage contains 24 reversible 10MW bulb turbines operating with a typical hydrostatic head of 5 m (Boyle, 2004). Including the plant at La Rance, currently there are only four tidal barrage power plants in operation at present. The other three are in (1) Annapolis, Bay of Fundy, Canada, (2) Kislaya Guba, Russia, and (3) Jangxia Creek, China. 3.1.2. Although generating electricity using tidal barrage technology is mature and reliable, it is not widely used because of its high cost and negative environmental impact.

Recently, tidal marine hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies and devices have grown rapidly throughout the world. Tidal current turbines extract the kinetic energy in moving water to generate electricity (Accad, 1978; Cartwright, 1999). As a first as well as crucial step in the generation of power using MHK, a survey on tidal energy along coastal lines is necessary. Particularly significant to the project research goal to identify twenty (20) key tidal sites for energy generation in New Jersey, are reports and papers identified in the literature search that focus on significant tidal sites and resources. These include generally site-specific studies such as the Minas Passage near the Bay of Fundy (Isaacman, 2009) and work competed by consultants to BC Hydro in western Canada (Trition, 2002, 2006). A similar study commissioned by the Carbon Trust entitled; UK, Europe and Global Tidal Stream Energy Resource Assessment (Black & Veatch, (2004).

Regional tidal site assessment completed in the United States includes an assessment of 465 tidal energy locations in and around Long Island, New York to identify the top 25 sites within the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) electric service territory (Bason, 2005). Another related study includes a national review of tidal energy capability in the United


States completed in cooperation with the National Renewable Energy Center (NaREC) a UK consulting organization. This research is dedicated to accelerating the deployment and grid integration of renewable energy and low carbon generation and to evaluate the status of US tidal energy commercialization (Bason, 2009).

Another source of significant contributions to the field includes some 68 studies of tidal and wave energy development in the United States and Canada completed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) available on the Internet, much of which is summarized in the work; North America Tidal In-Stream Energy Conversion Technology Feasibility Study (Bedard, 2006). Research specifically focused on evaluating the energy in tides that is harnessed for power generation is relevant to the project. These include works that focus on utility scale development of a tidal power field across a wide expanse of tidal flow such as The Extractable Power from a Channel Linking a Bay to the Open Ocean (Blanchfield, 2008) and more specific, technology oriented assessments such as Tidal Energy Resource Assessment for Tidal Stream Generators (Blunden, 2007).

Recent literature that evaluates and compares specific tidal energy generation systems includes a study completed for the UN Partnership for Small Island Developing States (Bason, 2009) and several broad ranging technical studies by others in the field (Lyatkher, 2004; Bryden et al., 2006).

Accelerated technology growth with open water testing of tidal energy generation equipment has resulted in devices being tested as prototypes and pre-commercial systems primarily in the North America, Europe and Australia. These developments have provoked significant interest in the evaluation of potential environmental impacts on marine organisms and habitat from operating single tidal turbines or fields of tidal electric turbines. Significant literature review has been completed in this rapidly growing body of research and opinion.

These environmental studies include more generalized impacts as discussed by Gill in a significant work; Offshore Renewable Energy: Ecological Implications of Generating Electricity in the Coastal Zone (2005) and the environmental impacts of specific technology


that include regionally relevant work in New York Harbor (Henderson, 2005) and extensive work in Canada (Isaacman and Lee, 2009; Sutherland et al., 2007; Tidmarsh, 1983).

These developments indicate an acceleration of potential interest and investment in the Ocean Renewable Energy and MHK technology development. The lobbying organization Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition (OREC) completed prospective US Congressional legislation to provide up to $800M for technology development and test facilities in proposed legislation released on September 22, 2010 (ORPC, 2010). These cutting edge developments are consistent with and support the focused goals of the proposed project to identify and evaluate the tidal energy potential of the State of New Jersey under the present research grant.

As progress is made in tidal field measurements and power generation technology, computer modeling of coastal tides can contribute an important role in evaluation of power tides and potential generated energy. These models require an understanding of the measurements of these tidal patterns such as are defined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the extensive Tide and Current Glossary (2000) and can be understood on a global scale with such works as Global Earth Physics, Earth Tides (Wahr, 1995). Several Internet based sources provide details and historical data on tidal currents and levels at NOAA and USGS monitored locations around the US such as can be found at Tides Online (tidesonline.nos.noaa.go). These data supplement field evaluations by Natural Currents, LLC fieldwork within the scope of the project.

In as early as the 1980s, a computer model at Naval Surface Weapon Center (NSWC), which was based on the solution of the hydrodynamic equations, was utilized to predict global tide distributions (Schwiderski 1980). Since then, a number of models have been proposed to simulate global tides. For instance, as a result of comparisons of results obtained with a few tide models, (FES, 2004???) by a French group has been recommended for use in tidal applications (Lyard et al., 2006). More recently, another study has been made about global tide models compared with satellite data, concluding that all of the selected models have certain drawbacks and inaccuracy (Ray et al., 2009).


Efforts to evaluate distributions of local tides have also been made. For instance, among many others, Abbott (1997) presents a detailed discussion using one-dimensional, twodimensional, and three-dimensional computer modeling of coastal tides. In a unique manner, this study proposed a multi-scale method to simulate small-scale local tides using nested-grid approaches. Zhong and Li (2006) use models to simulate the tide energy and its dissipation in Chesapeake Bay. Their computations indicate that tidal currents are more variable and harder to predict than tidal heights since they are sensitive to bathymetric changes. A model is established for tidal motion and its dissipation in the Alaska region (Inazu et al., 2009).

However, so far tidal computer models have been mainly used for interests in oceanography. Only until recently, modeling of tidal energy has been proposed to understand and predict power generation (Kowalik, 2004). Among a very sparse literature, PNNL/Battelle uses FVCOM to simulate tide flow in Puget Sound and examines the potential for power generation using the tidal energy in this region (Copping and Geerlofs, 2010). This effort demonstrates the power of computer modeling of tidal energy, however, it is only an approximate estimate and more efforts are needed to produce results that can be more effectively used. At the same time, modeling has been conducted for a pilot project using tidal energy to generate power (Karsten et al., 2010). A significant difficulty in tidal energy evaluation, especially in smaller regional studies such as in estuaries and tidal rivers as commonly found in New Jersey and elsewhere, is that small-scale flow characteristics need to be appropriately resolved, which requires accurate models and tremendous computer power. Recently, Hansong Tang’s group made progress in resolving small-scale flows by coupling different models (Tang and Wu, 2010). In the current project, further development will be made in this aspect and it will be applied to the NJ coastline tidal energy evaluation, with the aid of the field measurement efforts of the team supported by Natural Currents, LLC.

Our present project; “Potential Tidal Power for New Jersey, A Statewide Survey� seeks to contribute to the existing body of literature by integrating the knowledge of all of the interrelated tidal energy fields investigated to date with the energy, environmental and


economic priorities of the State of New Jersey within the context of the State Energy Master Plan (NJEMP) and the Global Warming Response Act (GWRA).


References Accad, Y. and C.L. Pekeris. Solution of the Tidal Equations for the M2 and S2 Tides in the World Oceans from a Knowledge of the Tidal Potential Alone. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences 290, no.1368 (1978): 235–266. Abbote, M. B. Range of tidal flow modeling. J. Hydr. Eng., 123(1997), 257-277. Bason, R. and Yatskar, I. Sustainable Hydroelectric Energy Network – SHEN, Developing an Integrated Regional In-Stream Hydro Power System. E3, Inc. 2005. Bason, R. “Tidal Energy for Island Nations.” Global Coral Reef Alliance & UN Partnership for Small Island Developing States. Natural Currents, LLC. 2008. Bason, R. US Tidal Stream Assessment Report. NaREC and Natural Currents, LLC. Final Report. April 3, 2009. Bedard, Roger. North America Tidal In-Stream Energy Conversion Technology Feasibility Study. EPRI. May 1, 2006. Black & Veatch Consulting. UK, Europe and Global Tidal Stream Energy Resource Assessment. Commissioned by the Carbon Trust, 2004. Blanchfield, J., C. Garrett, P. Wild, and A. Rowe. The Extractable Power from a Channel Linking a Bay to the Open Ocean. Proc.(IMechE Part A: J. Power and Energy 222 (2008), 289297. Blunden, L. S. and A.S. Bahaj. Tidal Energy Resource Assessment for Tidal Stream Generators. Proc. IMechE Part A: J. Power and Energy 221 (2007),137-146. Boyle G. Renewable energy power for a sustainable future. 2nd ed. Berlin: Oxford University Press, 2004 Bryden, I.G. and S.G. Couch. ME1-Marine Energy Extraction: Tidal Resource Analysis. Renewable Energy 31 (2006),133-139. Cartwright, David E. Tides: A Scientific History. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Copping, A.E. and Geerlofs, S.H. Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy DevelopmentTechnical Support and General Environmental Studies. PNNL-19081. 2010. Henderson, P. Ecological Issues relating to the deployment of tidal helical turbines in New York tidal waters. Pices Conservation Ltd, 2005.

Inazu, D., Sato, T, Miura, S, et al. Accurate ocean tide modeling in southeast Alaska and large tidal dissipation around Glacier Bay. J. Oceanography. 65(2009), 335-347.


Isaacman, L. and K. Lee. Current State of Knowledge on the Environmental Impacts of Tidal and Wave Energy Technology in Canada. DFO. Canadian Scientific Advisory. Sec. Res. Doc. 2009/077, 2009. Lyatkher, V. Economic Efffectiveness of Wind and Tidal Orthogonal Turbines. Moscow. New Energetics LLC, 2008. Karsten, R., Greenberg, D., and Tarbotton, M. Assessment of the Potential of Tidal Power from Minas Passage and Minas Basin. 2010, px. Kowalik, Z. Tide distribution and tapping into tidal energy. Oceanologia, 46(2004), 291-331. Lemonis G and Cutler J. C. Wave and tidal energy conversion. In: Encyclopedia of energy. New York: Elsevier; 2004. p. 385–396. Lyard, F. and Lefevre, F. Thierry Letellier, and Olivier Francis. Modelling the global ocean tides: modern insights from FES2004. Ocean Dynamics, 56(2006), 394–415 ORPC, Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Promotion Act of 2010. United States Congress. September 22 2010. Ray, R. D., Luthcke, S. B., and J.-P. Boy, Qualitative comparisons of global ocean tide models by analysis of intersatellite ranging data, J. Geophys. Res., 114(2009), C09017, doi:10.1029/2009JC005362. Rourke, F. O., Boyle, F., Reynolds. Tidal energy update 2009. A. Anthony Reynolds Applied Energy, 87(2010), 398–409 Schwiderski, E. W. Ocean tides, II, a hydrodynamic interpolation model. Mar Geod 3(1980), 219–255 Sutherland, G., M. Foreman and C. Garrett. Tidal Current Energy Assessment for Johnstone Strait, Vancouver Island. Proc. IMechE Part A: J. Power and Energy. 221 Tidmarsh, W. G. Assessing the Environmental Impact of the Annapolis Tidal Power Project. Water Science and Technology 16, nos. 1-2 (1983), 307 – 317. Triton Consultants Ltd. Green Energy Study for British Columbia, Phase 2: Mainland, Tidal Current Energy. Prepared for BC Hydro, 2002. Triton Consultants Ltd. Canada Ocean Energy Atlas (Phase 1) Potential Tidal Current Energy Resources Analysis Background. Prepared for the Canadian Hydraulics Centre, May 2006. Zhong, L. J. and Li, M. Tidal energy fluxes and dissipation in the Chesapeake Bay. Continental Shelf Research. 26(2006), 752–770.


Report #1- Literature Survey: Tidal Energy Power Generation – History and Current Status  

Our present project; “Potential Tidal Power for New Jersey, A Statewide Survey” seeks to contribute to the existing body of literature by in...

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