Integration of tidal range energy with undersea pumped storage

Research areas:
Tidal energy, Sea water pumped storage, French atlantic coast, Market value
Renewable Energy
38 - 48
The deployment of tidal technology is affected by the general bottlenecks associated with all new renewables in respect of finance and integration with the grid. In this research, a development strategy is defined for tidal range projects based on geodynamics, civil engineering, and economics with the aim of assisting policy makers and industry. Criteria related to hydrodynamics, bathymetry, marine structure safety and cost recovery apply to relevant sites and to real data power prices. The case study described is that of the Bay of Bourgneuf on the French Atlantic coast, where a tidal range power plant of 900 MW could optimally be built with respect to sedimentation, water depth, and tidal coefficients. It has been determined that a 30 m-high artificial dam could maximise the harvestable energy (3 TWh). Numerical simulations show that a tidal plant sized at just 700 MW would be cost-efficient, due to the constraints of the grid and to high power curtailment rates (30%). The expected value of the Levelised Cost of Electricity would be around 200€2016/MWh. Integration into the grid could be improved through addition of an innovative underwater energy storage system, rated to one third of the size of the tidal plant. The economics would improve (the LCOE would drop to 170€2016/MWh) due to lower curtailment and to price arbitrage opportunities. Issues related to missing investor money (>3Bln€2016) and unquantifiable positive externalities such as flood protection, energy independency, and clean energy provision are discussed, underpinning the need for regulator support.