Tidal currents and ranges in the Mediterranean basin are generally low from a tidal energy perspective. The narrows through the Strait of Messina are an exception, exhibiting intensive tidal currents that have the potential for the economic exploitation. Maximum current velocities at spring peak tides through the Strait vary between 1.8m/s to more than 3m/s. Selection of suitable locations for tidal energy extraction for the exploitation of these natural tidal phenomenon is not, however, a simple process. Constraints must be satisfied, subject to basic criteria dependent upon local factors, technology limitation and economic consideration. In addition, the impact of large scale extraction on the underlying hydrodynamics, environment and ecology within the Strait has to be assessed and evaluated.
This paper is a desk-based case study to show how a tidal resource may be environmentally assessed for energy extraction, using the Strait of Messina as an exemplar case