Abstract

The 3-D Princeton Ocean Model with tidal forcing supplied by a 2-D barotropic model was used to examine the time-depth variability and features of tidal current, and power of tidal stream energy in the Taiwan Strait. Assessing the power density in the Strait, we found several locations potentially appropriate for the tidal energy conversion. Such discovered sites were located in the vicinity and over the top of the Chang-Yuen Rise and in the Peng-Hu Channel. Due to the significant acceleration of the tidal flow on the flood and the ebb, at these sites, the power density can exceed the magnitude of 0.3 kW m-2.

Introduction

As interest in renewable marine energy increases, the number of investigations of tidal currents and analyses of their properties is growing. Understanding these properties enables the identification of prospective sites where tidal energy converters (TECs) will be most efficient. Although it is not the only means of assessing potential sites for deploying tidal turbines, the most popular method is numerical simulations of water circulation and inferring power density from model outputs.

Tidal energy site resource assessment studies are usually performed to obtain valuable data and analyses that will help in formulating and improving tidal energy site resource assessment practices, while also adding to our knowledge of hydrodynamic conditions at tidal energy sites (Goddijn-Murphy and Woolf, 2012; Polagye and Thompson, 2013;). Selecting potential sites for tidal energy projects involves more than simply identifying sites with an appropriately large peak tidal current (Bryden, 2006), and site selection for TEC arrays consists of various practical and economic constraints, such as magnitude and other properties of the tidal forcing, water depths appropriate for the chosen technology, and navigational constraints (Couch and Bryden, 2006; Iglesias et al., 2012).

The most suitable tidal stream sites are usually located in relatively shallow waters along the continental shelf where tidal currents are greatly enhanced. However, in shallow water, TECs may be subject to the effects of wind-generated surface-gravity waves, because in stormy conditions the magnitude of the velocity fluctuations can reach the same magnitude as those of the operating range of the turbine. Extreme loads experienced in such conditions are likely to constrain the proximity of a turbine to the surface with respect to the efficiency of tidal energy conversion.

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