Atlantis Resources Corporation and DHI have been working collaboratively for several years, and recently in collaboration with MeyGen have significantly improved the site selection and optimisation process to ensure reliable resource planning via the development of a decision support tool for tidal array optimisation.
The decision support system (DSS) is based on DHI’s marine modelling system MIKE 21 (or MIKE 3 in areas with strong 3D current phenomena) and Atlantis’s models for power generation and turbine drag. The DSS is able to optimise array configuration (boundary, spacing, orientation and offset amongst other factors) taking into account local current features and the effects of the turbine array on the flow field. The DSS has indicated that detailed quantification of the current fields and the effect of the turbine array on the current is essential in establishing reliable power generation and thus economic forecast data. Without assessing the effect of the tidal arrays on the flow field, the power generation capacity may readily be overestimated by 10% to 30% depending on the scale, geometry and location of the array . Application of the array optimisation DSS has been found to improve power generation capacity in the order of 5%, with the effect increasing with array size. The factors influencing power generation capacity are found to be highly significant in terms of the overall viability of tidal power projects and array optimisation tools are seen as an essential step forward in the commercialisation of tidal power.