The impact of seabed rock roughness on tidal stream power extraction

Last modified: 
August 29, 2016 - 6:50pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2016
Date published: 10/2016
Authors: Nicolas Guillou, Jérôme Thiébot
Journal title: Energy
Volume: 112
Pages: 762 - 773
ISSN: 03605442

Numerical assessments of environmental disturbances induced by a tidal farm project rely usually on local modifications of the friction coefficient over the area covered by a proposed array. Nevertheless, no study has investigated the sensitivity of predictions to surrounding seabed friction. The present investigation focuses on impacts of roughness parameterisation of rock outcrops, a typical seabed of tidal stream sites. A high-resolution depth-averaged circulation model is implemented in the Fromveur Strait off western Brittany, a region with strong potential for array development, integrating the heterogeneity of sediment bottom types. Rock roughness strongly influences initial predictions of tidal current and kinetic energy in the Strait with variations of available power up to 30 %. Tidal energy extraction induces noticeable reductions of tidal currents and bottom shear stresses up to 15 km from the array considered till surrounding sandbanks. Rock roughness impacts farm-induced modifications of tidal currents, bottom shear stresses and stream powers till north-eastern and southward edges of the Strait with major absolute differences identified in its central part. Surrounding sandbanks are finally suggested to variations of shear stresses from 9 to 17 % over the Bank of the Four with possible implications on local sediment deposition.

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