Cumulative impact assessment of tidal stream energy extraction in the Irish Sea

David Haverson, John Bacon, Helen C.M. Smith, Vengatesan Venugopal, Qing Xiao

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A cumulative impact assessment of tidal stream developments in the Irish Sea has been conducted on a high-resolution depth-averaged hydrodynamic model, using Telemac2D. Eight sites were investigated, representing the proposed developments at the time of study. These included: Ramsey Sound, Anglesey, Strangford Loch, Mull of Kintyre, Torr Head, Fair Head, Sound of Islay and West of Islay. Only three projects showed array-array interaction: Fair Head, Torr Head and Mull of Kintyre. A smaller model domain was created for further analysis. Results showed Mull of Kintyre had little impact. Fair Head reduced the energy production at Torr Head by 17%, whereas, Fair Head only reduced by 2%. This was caused by the tidal asymmetry whereby the flood was stronger. When operated concurrently, the maximum power-output at Torr Head is 64.5 MW, representing 31% reduction. If Torr Head can still operate commercially in the presence of Fair Head, then the additional environmental impact of Torr Head, such as the change in bed shear stress, is small. Within the Irish Sea, very few of the tidal projects investigated are geographically close to each other. As the industry develops, the risk of interaction to these sites will grow when more intermediary sites are developed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-428
Number of pages12
JournalOcean Engineering
Early online date11 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Tidal energy
  • Cumulative impact
  • Numerical model
  • Zone of influence

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