06 May 2024

Utilising hydrodynamic modelling data to assess the viability of tidal lagoon development

Cardiff, Wales, UK: Intertek, a leading Total Quality Assurance provider to industries worldwide, has won an important research project to provide hydrodynamic modelling expertise as part of the Welsh Government’s Tidal Lagoon Challenge.

The Tidal Lagoon Challenge is an innovative competition to help quantify the potential benefits of tidal lagoons and reduce or remove the barriers to development in Wales. Partnering with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, Cardiff University and Western Gateway, Intertek will be undertaking an assessment to quantify the value of developing tidal range power as part of the Flexible Lagoon Operation for Maximal Value (FLOMax) research project.

Techniques for harnessing tidal range energy are long-established, but there are currently no tidal lagoon projects in existence globally. Previous studies indicate that 10 GW of installed capacity could be achieved through proposed projects, equal to approximately 5% of UK energy use. Tidal range technologies are therefore likely to be essential in helping the UK to meet its net zero targets by 2050. 

The research project’s three main objectives include: (1) Modelling the flexible operation of tidal lagoons (2) Quantifying their true long-term economic value (3) Presenting a recommendation for policy support.

Intertek will model a wide range of tidal lagoon configurations to assess the power potential over their design life (~100-200 years). The outputs of the modelling will be an annual yield estimate for each scheme. This data will feed into Cardiff University’s research and ultimately help to quantify the economic value of tidal lagoons, providing an economic and financial rationale behind tidal lagoon projects, as well as other recognised evaluation methods.

Dr. Paul Evans, Principal Consultant at Intertek, commented: “We are delighted to have won this exciting and much-needed research project in such an important sector. This research aims to demonstrate the benefits of tidal lagoon development in Wales – and elsewhere – and reduce some of the uncertainties that have hindered previous projects.”

Jeremy Miles, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Energy and Welsh Language, said: “Wales is extremely well placed to be at the forefront of a renewable revolution – using our natural resources, skills and expertise to become an international exemplar for emerging renewable energy technologies and, in turn, delivering a sustainable, prosperous future for our communities and economy. Intertek’s expertise and findings will be invaluable, helping to better understand the challenges, opportunities and true value of developing tidal range power in Wales.”

Simon Cheeseman, Wave and Tidal Energy Sector Lead at ORE Catapult, said: “We are excited that our role in this innovative research partnership with Intertek and Cardiff University will build on the existing knowledge base for tidal range technology. Key aims for our team include quantifying the value of the tidal range opportunity for Wales, supporting technology demonstration, and highlighting the potential future role for tidal energy in achieving price stability through flexible lagoon operation, contributing to long-term energy security and achieving net zero ambitions. Partnership remains key and it will be important for tidal range energy to work alongside infrastructure and other renewable energy sources.”

Dr Matthew Allmark, Lecturer at Cardiff University, said: “We are enthusiastic about collaborating on the FLOMax project, which will be instrumental in assessing the role that tidal lagoons could play within our changing energy landscape. We seek to determine how the predictable and potentially flexible electricity generated via tidal lagoons can support our shifting and expanding grid infrastructure, which will be essential when making the case for investing in this sustainable energy source.”

Intertek has many years’ experience in marine consulting and the marine renewables industry. This includes hydrodynamic modelling, field survey management, geophysical and geotechnical assessments, metocean assessments, geographical information systems (GIS), as well as cabling engineering and environmental impact assessment.

Learn more about Intertek’s modelling services by visiting: https://www.intertek.com/energy-water/hydrodynamic-modelling/

For Technical Information:

Please contact:

Paul Evans

For Media Information:

Please contact:

Niki Schroeder

About Intertek

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