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Potential environmental impact of tidal energy extraction in the Pentland Firth at large spatial scales: results of a biogeochemical model
van der Molen, J.; Ruardij, P.; Greenwood, N. (2016). Potential environmental impact of tidal energy extraction in the Pentland Firth at large spatial scales: results of a biogeochemical model. Biogeosciences 13: 2593–2609. dx.doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-2593-2016
In: Gattuso, J.P.; Kesselmeier, J. (Ed.) Biogeosciences. Copernicus Publications: Göttingen. ISSN 1726-4170, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • van der Molen, J.
  • Ruardij, P., more
  • Greenwood, N.

Abstract
    A model study was carried out of the potentiallarge-scale (> 100 km) effects of marine renewabletidal energy generation in the Pentland Firth, using the 3-D hydrodynamics–biogeochemistry model GETM-ERSEMBFM.A realistic 800MW scenario and a high-impact scenariowith massive expansion of tidal energy extractionto 8GW scenario were considered. The realistic 800MWscenario suggested minor effects on the tides, and undetectableeffects on the biogeochemistry. The massiveexpansion8GW scenario suggested effects would be observedover hundreds of kilometres away with changes of upto 10% in tidal and ecosystem variables, in particular in abroad area in the vicinity of the Wash. There, waters becameless turbid, and primary production increased with associatedincreases in faunal ecosystem variables. Moreover, a one-offincrease in carbon storage in the sea bed was detected. Althoughthese first results suggest positive environmental effects,further investigation is recommended of (i) the residualcirculation in the vicinity of the Pentland Firth and effectson larval dispersal using a higher-resolution model and(ii) ecosystem effects with (future) state-of-the-art models ifenergy extraction substantially beyond 1GW is planned

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