Impacts of Tidal Energy Converter Configurations

by Cassandra Burgess

As tidal energy develops throughout the world several different designs for Tidal Energy Converters (TECs) have been developed. The main classifications are reciprocating and rotating devices, of which rotating are the most common. Within this category the TECs can be either floating and anchored to the bottom or fixed to the bottom by a rigid structure. Each of these designs has different impacts on the environment it is placed in. Sanchez et al. (2014) tested these impacts in Northwest Spain in Ria de Ortigueria by using a three-dimensional model to examine the impacts of two plants, one floating and the other bottom-fixed. The researchers found that both plants had little effect on water more than 4 kilometers away, but large impacts near the plants. The plants also exhibited very different patterns in changes in flow near the plants. Thus the authors argue that because TECs clearly have an impact on the flow of water around them, further investigation will be necessary to find the impacts of this change in flow on ecosystems. Continue reading