Tidal range structure operation assessment and optimisation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The construction and operation of tidal range structures has been in the spotlight since the UK Government-commissioned Hendry Review advised that tidal power can play a significant role in the future energy mix. Tidal range proposals undergo rigorous scrutiny over their feasibility and environmental implications, despite presenting opportunities to deliver sustainable large-scale electricity supplies to the national grid. Preceding efforts to harness UK's untapped tidal energy resource through barrages were dismissed on the grounds of feasibility and environmental uncertainties. There is now a need to develop reliable engineering tools that can be used to improve designs under consideration. In this case a novel coastal ocean finite-element model is coupled with tidal power plant operation algorithms. This is applied to assess the performance of tidal range structures such as the Swansea bay and Cardiff tidal lagoons. The analysis takes into account an adaptive operation that aims to maximise the electricity output over variable spring–neap tidal conditions. It is demonstrated that such hydrodynamic models, when informed regarding the design of the constituent turbines and sluice gates, can simulate the power plant operation to provide insights to the energy output and hydro-environmental impacts of such schemes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDams and Reservoirs
Early online date4 Jan 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jan 2019


  • dams
  • barrages & reservoirs
  • Hydraulics & hydrodynamics
  • Renewable Energy


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