Tacoma Narrows Tidal Power Feasibility Study: Final Report

Eric Bergmann, Scott Amsden (Other), Burton Hamner (Lead / Corresponding author), Jim Dawson (Research group member), Tim Acker (Research group member), Vladimir Shepsis (Research group member), Shane Phillip (Research group member), Jeff Cox (Research group member), Carol Coomes (Research group member), Pat McGarry (Research group member), John Holmes (Research group member), Pamela Klatt (Research group member), Joan Nichol (Research group member), George Gilmour (Research group member), Julie Gustanski (Research group member), Mike Williamson (Research group member), Art Wright (Research group member), Bruce Adee (Research group member), Mitsuhiro Kawase (Research group member), Kai Strunz (Research group member)

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Abstract

The Tacoma Narrows Tidal Power Feasibility Study was conducted to determine if Tacoma Power could generate commercial-scale, cost-competitive renewable power from the energy of marine tidal currents in the Tacoma Narrows of Puget Sound, Washington. Tacoma Power envisions a four-phase investigation.

In Phase I, completed in 2005- 2006, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) did a “bench” study and concluded that an array of 64 large double-rotor tidal turbines could generate about 16MW of power at a site in Tacoma Narrows. EPRI concluded that the Cost of Energy would be competitive but it was not able to include costs for environmental permitting and regulation and studies. In Phase II, this Study, a team of leading Northwest oceanographers, marine technology
experts and firms, environmental and regulatory experts and economists used new field data and advanced modeling to determine the actual power available. The tidal turbine technology available was surveyed and evaluated for its application to the site. Studies and permits were estimated and economics considered.

The main Phase II Feasibility Study conclusions are:
Commercial-scale tidal power generation in Tacoma Narrows does not appear feasible for at least another eight to ten years. The amount of power that could be generated is small compared to Tacoma Power’s needs. Under existing economic conditions commercial-scale tidal power generation is not economically competitive compared to other resources such as wind power.
However, over eight or ten years, conditions will change and Tacoma Power may want to develop the resource. To preserve its permit and license options for the site, Tacoma Power should renew its preliminary permit in 2009 and apply for a five year pilot project license and project that would be funded by third parties. By the time a pilot project is completed there may be advances in tidal turbine technology that increase power and decrease costs and impacts
Original languageEnglish
TypeTidal Energy Feasibility Report
Media of outputReport
Number of pages209
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2007

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Keywords

  • tidal energy
  • renewable energy
  • Feasibility study
  • low-carbon energy

Cite this

Bergmann, E., Amsden, S., Hamner, B., Dawson, J., Acker, T., Shepsis, V., Phillip, S., Cox, J., Coomes, C., McGarry, P., Holmes, J., Klatt, P., Nichol, J., Gilmour, G., Gustanski, J., Williamson, M., Wright, A., Adee, B., Kawase, M., & Strunz, K. (2007, Dec 31). Tacoma Narrows Tidal Power Feasibility Study: Final Report.