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Optimization modelling of the impacts of a Severn Barrage for a two-way generation scheme using a Continental Shelf model

Zhou, Juntao, Pan, Shunqi ORCID: and Falconer, Roger A. ORCID: 2014. Optimization modelling of the impacts of a Severn Barrage for a two-way generation scheme using a Continental Shelf model. Renewable Energy 72 , pp. 415-427. 10.1016/j.renene.2014.07.036

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The Severn Estuary has the world's second largest tide range and a barrage across the estuary, located just seawards of Cardiff in Wales and Weston in the South West England, has been proposed for over half a century, with the objective of extracting large amounts of tidal energy. A Severn Barrage, as previously proposed by the Severn Tidal Power Group (STPG), would be the largest renewable energy project for tidal power generation in the world, if built as proposed, and would generate approximately 5% of the UK's electricity needs. However, concerns have been raised over the environmental impacts of such a barrage, including potential increase in flood risk, loss of intertidal habitats etc. In addressing the challenges of maximizing the energy output and minimizing the environmental impacts of such a barrage, this research study has focused on using a Continental Shelf model, based on the modified Environmental Fluid Dynamics Code (EFDC) with a barrage operation module (EFDC_B), to investigate both the far and near field hydrodynamic impacts of a barrage for different operating scenarios. Three scenarios have been considered to simulate the Severn Barrage, operating via two-way generation and using different combinations of turbines and sluices. The first scenario consisted of 216 turbines and 166 sluices installed along the barrage; the second consisted of 382 turbines with no sluices; and the third consisted of 764 turbines and no sluices. The specification of the sluice gates and turbines are the same for all scenarios. The model results indicate that the third scenario has the best mitigating effects for the far-field and near-field flood risks caused by a barrage and produces the most similar results of minimum water depth and maximum velocity distributions to those obtained from simulating the natural conditions of the estuary, i.e. the current conditions. The results also show that the flow patterns around the barrage are closest to those for the existing natural conditions with minimal slight changes in the estuary. Thus, the results clearly indicate that the environmental impacts of a Severn Barrage can be minimized if the barrage is operated for two-way generation and under the third scenario. Although it appears that the energy output for the third scenario is less than that obtained for the other two scenarios, if very low head (VLH) turbines are used, then the third scenario could generate more energy as more turbines could be cited along the barrage structure. Therefore, the study shows that a Severn Barrage, operating in two-way generation and with 764 turbines (ideally VLH turbines), would be the best option to meet the needs of maximizing the energy output, but having a minimal impact on environmental changes in the estuary and far-field.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Advanced Research Computing @ Cardiff (ARCCA)
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Severn Barrage; EFDC_B model; two-way generation; Continental Shelf model; renewable energy.
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0960-1481
Date of Acceptance: 18 July 2014
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2022 08:53

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