Assessment of tidal stream energy potential for Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island
Gay, Thomas Joseph
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The energy of the tides represents one globally existent source of renewable energy, and has the potential to play a major role in a sustainable future. An assessment of the potential for tidal energy extraction using marine current turbines at a particular location in the Beaufort River near Parris Island, South Carolina is presented. The Marine Corps Recruit Depot located on Parris Island is situated between the confluence of the Broad and Beaufort Rivers. These rivers are tidally dominated, and experience some of the largest tidal ranges in the southeastern United States, between 2.5 and 3 meters during spring tide periods. Because Parris Island already has much of the necessary land-based infrastructure in place, there is logical potential for the extraction of kinetic energy from the nearby tidal streams using underwater turbines for power production. In order to evaluate the potential of a particular location to produce significant amounts of energy using these types of devices, extensive investigations must be conducted to determine important site characteristics such as water depth, current velocity, and water level fluctuations over time. This potential was investigated using in-situ measurements in the vicinity of the pump station on Parris Island, and by developing a numerical model of the region using the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS). This model was calibrated using the results from the in-situ measurements, and was then used to determine the impacts of tidal energy extraction on the local flow field. Results from in-situ measurements indicate that tidal currents along the portion of the Beaufort River analyzed in this study are driven primarily by the semi-diurnal M2 tidal constituent. The tidal range at the study site is approximately 2 meters on average, with a mean depth-averaged current velocity magnitude of 0.57 m/s predicted for a period of one year. A mean depth-averaged current velocity magnitude of 0.59 m/s was observed over the course of the longer-term ADCP deployment from November 12 to December 17, 2009. The maximum current speed at the site is approximately 1.2 m/s at the water surface. The ROMS model applied to the coastal areas surrounding Parris Island, SC produces results that closely resemble in-situ measurements collected previously during both the boat-based survey and the longer-term ADCP deployment. In the analysis of the effects of energy extraction from the system, four separate cases were considered in which 10, 20, 30, and 60% of the total kinetic energy contained in the flow was dissipated near the location of the longer-term ADCP deployment. Minimal impacts on the local hydrodynamics were observed across the four cases considered.