Sustainability of using Ria Formosa Currents On Renewable Energy production

Science currently has a very poor understanding of both the hydrodynamics and the ecology implications related with the extraction of energy on coastal environments. A major part of the lack of knowledge relates to the fact that deployments of tidal energy converters (TECs) are focused on deeper areas. In few cases that devices have been deployed closer to the coast, the data is highly commercially sensitive and thus not in the public domain to further wider understanding. Further, the measurements (when available) are often limited and do not provide the much needed information and context of the spatial and inter-annual variability inherent at such locations. The deployment of TECs has also been hindered by a lack of understanding of their environmental interactions, both in terms of the device impact on the environment (important for consenting and stakeholder bodies) and environmental impact on the device (fatigue, actual power output, etc.) which is vital to enhance investor confidence and increase financial support from the private sector.

The access to freely available, transparently collected monitoring data from real deployments is paramount both for resource assessments and for cataloguing potential impacts of any marine renewable installation. This project proposal was designed to deliver real data and concrete results in relation to the test site, the technology, the environment, and the economic benefits of tidal energy extraction.

The general objective of SCORE is to examine a small-scale tidal current turbine (Evopod E1) to be deployed in a shallow-water estuarine environment, looking at both the impacts of the turbine on its environment and the effects of the flow conditions on the turbine.