The Impact of Tidal Stream Turbines on Circulation and Sediment Transport in Muskeget Channel, MA


Aradea R. Hakim, Geoffrey W. Cowles, and James H. Churchill – Marine Technology Society Journal, August 2013

Abstract

The Finite-Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) is configured to evaluate the potential impact of the proposed Muskeget Tidal Energy Project on circulation and sediment transport in the surrounding region. The extraction of tidal kinetic energy from the water column is modeled by augmenting the momentum equations with additional drag terms parameterized using local flow velocities and parameters specific to the installed turbine farm. Model-computed power output compares well with estimates based on velocities derived from a shipboard acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP). Total extracted power from the proposed installations during a spring ebb tide represents roughly 9% of the natural power in the deep section of the channel and 30% of the natural tidal dissipation in the turbine installation region. Due to this low level of extraction, turbine installations at the proposed transects result in relatively minor differences in the tidal current magnitude (2.5%), water level (0.8%), sediment flux (0.6%), and bed level (9%). Computations also indicate that the proposed installation generates minimal impacts to the tidal harmonics (3.3% change in amplitude and 1-min delay in phase) and tide-induced depth-averaged residual currents (2.8%). Model-computed extraction at increased levels is associated with greater perturbations to the natural conditions.

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