New research is helping the emerging tidal energy industry learn from their counterparts in the wind industry. By considering the effects of atmospheric turbulence when developing turbine designs, the wind industry has lowered the cost of energy to record lows and deployed turbines broadly across much of the nation.
Likewise, as the tidal energy industry continues to advance, developing a thorough understanding of turbulence is a critical step to designing durable devices and accelerating the pace of technology development. While the wind industry uses meteorological towers to measure turbulence, it would be expensive and unrealistic to place and maintain similar equipment in the ocean. Researchers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the University of Washington (UW) are addressing this problem by developing a system to measure turbulence using instrumentation secured to mooring lines.