The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is to develop a model of the UK’s tidal energy resources to improve understanding of the interactions between tidal energy extraction systems as they are deployed between now and 2050.

The Tidal Modelling Project will investigate the interaction between tidal energy extraction systems located at different positions around the UK, and how energy extraction at one site might affect the energy available and nature of the tidal energy resources at other sites.

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A Request for Proposals outlining the requirements of the project has been issued and can be seen at http://www.energytechnologies.co.uk/Home/Technology-Programmes/Requests_for_Proposals_copy1.aspx

The deadline for the notification of intention to submit a proposal is midday on 9 March and all proposals must be received by midday on 28 March.

Tidal energy can be classified into tidal stream and tidal range, both of which could make a significant contribution to meeting the UK’s future energy requirements. Tidal stream extracts energy from the passing tide, while tidal range traps and then releases energy using a device such as a barrage or lagoon.

Dr David Clarke, Chief Executive of the ETI said: “As more of the UK’s tidal resource is extracted by either tidal stream or tidal range technologies, the interactions between different installations at locations around the UK’s coastline may become more significant.

“It is important that we understand more about the impact installations may have on the total energy resource around the British Isles and other Western European coastlines.

“Developing this modelling tool will allow the ETI to characterise the UK’s tidal energy resource, and evaluate the combined effects of energy extraction from potential sites in the future.

“At the end of the project we will be better equipped to help industry and Government make decisions on the potential future role for tidal in the UK’s energy mix.”

Although smaller studies have taken place, nothing has been done on a national scale and the ETI’s project will also build on its existing marine projects, including PerAWAT, which is developing and validating tools capable of accurately estimating the energy yield of both wave and tidal stream energy.

The ETI will also be launching tidal energy and wave energy converter demonstration projects later this year.

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