Assessment of tidal streams as an energy source for the United States
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Tidal streams are high velocity sea currents created by periodic horizontal movement of the tides, often magnified by local topographical features such as headlands, inlets to inland lagoons, and straits. Tidal stream energy extraction is derived from the kinetic energy of the moving flow; analogous to the way a wind turbine operates in air, and as such differs from tidal barrages, which relies on providing a head of water for energy extraction. With the constantly increasing effort in promoting alternative energy, tidal streams have become a promising energy source due to their continuous, predictable and concentrated characteristics. However, the present lack of a full spatial-temporal assessment of tidal currents for the U.S. coastline down to the scale of individual devices is a barrier to the comprehensive development of tidal current energy technology. This talk will present the methodology for creating a national database of tidal stream energy potential, as well as a GIS tool usable by industry in order to accelerate the market for tidal energy conversion technology.