The tidal current energy resource is challenging to assess with accuracy and precision. An accepted standard methodology is lacking, which in turn perpetuates uncertainty and hinders the industry’s development. Technical Committee 114 of the International Electro-technical Commission (IEC-TC-114) is working to develop a standard for emerging tidal energy conversion systems. The draft standard prescribes methods for determining, objectively and reliably, the scale and character of tidal current energy resources at a site. The IEC-TC-114 draft standard for tidal energy resource assessment and characterisation has not yet been tested in a real world case study. Hence, it is not yet known whether the proposed methods will yield the desired outcome.
This research has adopted the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) project in Minas Passage, Nova Scotia, for pilot application of the draft standard on tidal current resource assessment. The Bay of Fundy, located on the Atlantic coast of North America between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, is known for having the highest tidal range in the world and has long been recognised as an ideal stage for tidal energy development.
The thesis is presented in three main parts. Firstly, the latest peer-reviewed scientific literature is summarised and the standard is reviewed in view of lessons learned. The aim of this exercise is to establish a scientific basis for and to develop suggestions towards improving and extending future revisions of the standard. Secondly, a comprehensive assessment of the tidal current energy resource at the FORCE project site is conducted in a manner that is consistent with IEC-TC-114 protocol based on available measurements from static current profiler surveys and a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model of the upper Bay of Fundy developed for this study. Thirdly, a sensitivity analysis is performed to determine the main sources of error and uncertainty affecting resource assessment, a topic which has yet to be addressed in the literature.