Annex IV distributes metadata forms (questionnaires) to solicit information from researchers around the world who are exploring the environmental effects of marine renewable energy. This page provides a description and contact information related to the research. Content is updated on an annual basis.

Large Scale Interactive Coupled 3D Modelled for Wave and Tidal Energy Resource and Environmental Impact (TeraWatt)

Research Study Annex IV

Title: Large Scale Interactive Coupled 3D Modelled for Wave and Tidal Energy Resource and Environmental Impact (TeraWatt)
Start Date:
February 01, 2012
Research End Date:
February 01, 2015
Technology Type:
Info Updated:
March 03, 2016
Study Status: 
Princple Investigator Contact Information: 

Name: Jonathan Side (principal investigator)


Project Description: 

As part of the licensing arrangements for wave and tidal arrays, environmental effects in the immediate vicinity of devices and arrays will be addressed in the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) process that each developer must undertake.  The regulatory authorities need to understand, however, how a number of multi-site developments collectively impact on the physical and biological processes over a wider region.  The TeraWatt research programme is structured in four workstreams.  The first, led by Marine Scotland Science (MSS), will collate all necessary data to be used, develop the hypothetical multi-site array configurations in conjunction with developers and evaluate acceptance criteria for impacts.  The second, led by Edinburgh University will use separate and coupled models of wave and tide at a resolution necessary to consider multi-site array effects on the resource, providing important inputs to workstreams 3 and 4 which will address in turn, the spatial changes in physical processes affecting sediments, the shoreline and seabed (led by University of Glasgow and University of Strathclyde), and the spatial changes affecting organisms living in the seabed, their distribution and the significance of these for other ecological processes (led by Heriot-Watt University).  Each workstream will provide reviews of the methodologies used which will be synthesised into a single methods toolbox.  Where possible, all regional scale modelling used to illustrate these methodologies will be validated by field data. The consortium has assembled both existing and data not previously available for this purpose, with the support of MSS and marine renewable developers.

Funding Source: 

UK Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, University.

Location of Research: 

Key development areas such as the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters

Project Aims: 

The objectives of TeraWatt are fourfold: Firstly to minimise delays in array licensing by providing answers to three specific questions faced by the regulatory authorities, responsible for the licensing of wave and tidal developments; and secondly to collect the methodologies used to answer these into a methods toolbox that can be more widely utilised for such assessments, and in which the marine developer community has confidence:

  • What is the best way to assess the wave and tidal resource and the effects of energy extraction on it?
  • What are the physical consequences of wave and tidal energy extraction?
  • What are the ecological consequences of wave and tidal energy extraction?
  • The assembly of all appropriate methods, their review, and synthesis in a standardised methods toolbox.
Project Progress: 

The project is complete.

Key Findings: 

Sophisticated computer models have been designed to help streamline the licencing of wave and tidal energy devices by minimising their impacts on the marine environment.

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