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Publication Abstract

Hydrokinetic Power Review

Ortega-Achury, S. L., McAnally, W. H., Davis, T. E., & Martin, James L. (2010). Hydrokinetic Power Review. Mississippi State University: Bagley College of Engineering.

Hydrokinetic power generation offers the potential to make a significant contribution to U.S. electricity needs by adding as much as 20,000 to 30,000 MW to the present 75,000 MW of hydroelectric power generation capacity. About a third of that potential occurs as in-stream generation in tidal and non-tidal rivers and in estuaries. Among its attractive features, hydrokinetic operations do not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions or other air pollution and because the installations are underwater, they have less visual aesthetic impact than wind turbines. The presence of hydrokinetic turbines and their support structure(s) present at least the potential to adversely affect navigation and the waterway ecosystem. If a vessel were to strike a hydrokinetic installation both the hydrokinetic equipment and the vessel would be damaged. Outside of collisions or restricting waterway traffic, constriction of a waterway by an installation may affect water level and currents, and thus navigability, and alter sedimentation patterns, either increasing or decreasing channel dredging requirements, all of concern to waterway operators and users. Hydrokinetic installations should be reviewed based on: • Ratio of total energy loss to energy generation for various hydrokinetic installations defined by large scale lab experiments • Site-specific 3-dimensional numerical model study of each proposed installation with energy extraction based on equipment performance and above extraction ratio • Consideration of individual and cumulative environmental near field and far field effects on water level, flow speed, sedimentation, salinity intrusion, water quality, and habitat • Site-specific probabilities of vessels striking the installation or suffering another accident in trying to avoid the installation.