Residual flows are of major importance in coastal areas, driving environmental processes such as sediment transport or nutrient dispersion. Consequently, in those areas where a large tidal stream energy resource is available, prior to the installation of a tidal farm, it is imperative to assess how energy extraction affects the residual flows and, in particular, upwelling events. In this paper, the potential effects of different configurations of tidal stream farms on the residual circulation and its seasonality are analysed by means of a case study: Ria de Ortigueira, the westernmost of the Galician Rias Altas (NW Spain). For this purpose, a 3D numerical model was implemented and validated against field measurements. Next, a total of eight case studies, including the operation of bottom-fixed and floating converters under typical summer and winter scenarios, considering upwelling favourable winds, were studied. Overall, when a tidal farm operates, regardless of its configuration and the forcings considered, the resulting general residual flow pattern does not experience significant modifications. This pattern is characterized by a 2D circulation in the inner ria and a positive estuarine circulation in the middle and outer ria. The largest modifications of the residual flow are apparent in the vicinities of the plant, with maximum values of about 0.05 ms−1. Outside this area, the alteration is lower than 0.01 ms−1 and virtually negligible at some distance from the farm where upwelling events develop.