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Development of tidal energy generation modelling using Morecambe Bay as a case study under different environmental, storage and demand scenarios.

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

  • Simon Baker
Publication date2021
Number of pages81
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Electricity generation is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy mitigates those emissions but poses different problems for the use of the power. This project examines the potential of using a barrage across Morecambe Bay to capture tidal range energy. The tidal system for a specific location is complex and requires multiple levels of robust detailed modelling.
The optimum barrage operational parameter values (e.g. generating starting head and turbine speed) vary with the height of the tide. They are also influenced by the design and should be adjusted whenever the design changes. Using 0-D modelling, the energy from real tides can be modelled effectively by applying a set of linear functions to relate the operational parameters to the tidal range. The function coefficients were determined via an optimisation process, specific to each new design, to maximise the generated energy.
The timing of electricity generation is dictated by the tide with little scope for adjustment. Electricity cannot be stored and is effectively lost if not needed. To store all the surplus energy from the barrage would require a dedicated facility on a similar scale to the barrage itself and is deemed impractical. With electricity usage patterns expected to change as the UK transitions to a low carbon economy, the solution is perhaps one of energy balancing in combination with storage and conversion to different energy carriers.
At a global level the barrage addresses sea-level rise by generating large amounts of green energy. At a local level the barrage can mitigate the threat of increased flooding and can preserve the tidal range to help protect the inter-tidal zone.
It is difficult to value all the aspects of a barrage with confidence and to reliably balance the costs of building a barrage against not building it. The environment plays a crucial part in this assessment and must be incorporated into the performance estimates of the barrage at all stages of the design.