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A Modeling Study of Tidal Energy Extraction and the Associated Impact on Tidal Circulation in a Multi-Inlet Bay System of Puget Sound

Study Status: 
Princple Investigator Contact Information: 

Taiping Wang
e-mail: taiping.wang@pnnl.gov

Project Description: 

This paper focuses on the possibility of extracting tidal energy from minor tidal channels of Puget Sound by using a hydrodynamic model to quantify the power potential and the associated impact on tidal circulation. The study site is a multi-inlet bay system connected by two narrow inlets, Agate Pass and Rich Passage, to the Main Basin of Puget Sound. A three-dimensional hydrodynamic model was applied to the study site and validated for tidal elevations and currents. We examined three energy extraction scenarios in which turbines were deployed in each of the two passages and concurrently in both. Extracted power rates and associated changes in tidal elevation, current, tidal flux, and residence time were examined.

Funding Source: 

This study was conducted by leveraging previous modeling tools that were developed with support from the Water Power Program within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC05-76RL01830 to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Location of Research: 

Puget Sound, WA, USA

Project Aims: 
  1. To characterize the general tidal circulation pattern in a multi-inlet bay system that is connected to the main Puget Sound via Agate Pass and Rich Passage
  2. To quantify the potential impact on water circulation as a result of tidal energy extraction
Project Progress: 


Key Findings: 

Maximum instantaneous power rates reached 250 kW, 1550 kW, and 1800 kW, respectively, for the three energy extraction scenarios. Model results suggest that with the level of energy extraction in the three energy extraction scenarios, the impact on tidal circulation is very small. It is worth investigating the feasibility of harnessing tidal energy from minor tidal channels of Puget Sound.

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