Renewable energy impact assessment

Tidal and wave energy devices remove energy from the tidal current and wave fields, respectively, and this disturbance may alter the hydrodynamics, both near- and far-field. Offshore wind structures are obstructions to the flow and any change in the near sea surface wind field could also change the low flow fields and water column structure. Any significant disturbance to the hydrodynamics within a region may alter the levels of mixing and could have an effect on the local density structure, including the levels of stratification, potentially affecting the whole ecosystem. Numerical hydrodynamic models, such as the Scottish Shelf Model (SSM), are the best tools we have to assess the potential impacts of new large developments before they are implemented.

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Predicted changes from the PFOW to semi-diurnal tidal amplitude resulting from two tidal stream turbine layouts which both extract a mean power of 1.4 GW (adapted from O'Hara Murray and Gallego, 2017).