Mapping Australia’s tidal energy potential

School of Ocean Sciences researchers helping to develop a dynamically coupled wave-tide computer model of the Australian tidal energy resource. AREA is a $2.49 million 3 year project to map the tidal energy resource of Australian waters.

This project is to understand the tidal energy resource of Australia; where is best to put devices that can convert tidal currents into electricity, and to help inform industry of ocean conditions so resilient devices can be developed that responsibly extract these renewable energy resource without impacting the environment ($2.5m-funding-for-new-project).

Australia may be famous for its surfing beaches, but these waves also pose challenges for the tidal energy industry. The effect of waves on tidal currents at tidal-stream energy sites is one of the core research themes of the NRN-LCEE QUOTIENT research cluster at Bangor University ( Dr. Matt Lewis ( will spend a month in Tasmania working with research scientists at CSIRO and the University of Tasmania, to develop a dynamically coupled wave-tide computer model of the Australian tidal energy resource that will be used to map the tidal energy resource and inform engineers on resilient and efficient device designs.

Dr Simon Neill, who leads the marine renewable energy activities at Bangor explains “waves and tides interact with one another over a variety of timescales, and this interaction can be important when considering the ocean as a clean source of electricity generation. We are currently developing the international technical specification for tidal resource assessment and characterization, and this research, in collaboration with researchers in Australia, draws on our international reputation on wave/current interaction, helping direct this technical specification”.

As world leaders in tidal energy resource estimation and understanding the ocean conditions at these renewable energy sites, Bangor was invited to join this project. On this project, researchers at the School of Ocean Sciences will be applying their experience to collaborate with Australian researchers and build computer models that numerically simulate both tidal currents and the effects of waves at potential tidal energy sites.

Publication date: 17 July 2017