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Tidal Stream vs. Wind Energy: The Value of Cyclic Power When Combined with Short-Term Storage in Hybrid Systems


  • Daniel Coles

    (School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK)

  • Athanasios Angeloudis

    (Institute for Infrastructure and the Environment, School of Engineering, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9YL, UK)

  • Zoe Goss

    (Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK)

  • Jon Miles

    (School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK)


This study quantifies the technical, economic and environmental performance of hybrid systems that use either a tidal stream or wind turbine, alongside short-term battery storage and back-up oil generators. The systems are designed to partially displace oil generators on the island of Alderney, located in the British Channel Islands. The tidal stream turbine provides four power generation periods per day, every day. This relatively high frequency power cycling limits the use of the oil generators to 1.6 GWh/year. In contrast, low wind resource periods can last for days, forcing the wind hybrid system to rely on the back-up oil generators over long periods, totalling 2.4 GWh/year (50% higher). For this reason the tidal hybrid system spends £0.25 million/year less on fuel by displacing a greater volume of oil, or £6.4 million over a 25 year operating life, assuming a flat cost of oil over this period. The tidal and wind hybrid systems achieve an oil displacement of 78% and 67% respectively (the same as the reduction in carbon emissions). For the wind hybrid system to displace the same amount of oil as the tidal hybrid system, two additional wind turbines are needed. The ability of the battery to store excess turbine energy during high tidal/wind resource periods relies on opportunities to regularly discharge stored energy. The tidal hybrid system achieves this during slack tides. Periods of high wind resource outlast those of high tidal resource, causing the battery to often remain fully charged and excess wind power to be curtailed. Consequently the wind hybrid system curtails 1.9 GWh/year, whilst the tidal turbine curtails 0.2 GWh/year. The ability of the tidal stream turbines to reduce curtailment, fuel costs and carbon emissions may provide a case for implementing them in hybrid systems, if these benefits outweigh their relatively high capital and operating expenditure.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Coles & Athanasios Angeloudis & Zoe Goss & Jon Miles, 2021. "Tidal Stream vs. Wind Energy: The Value of Cyclic Power When Combined with Short-Term Storage in Hybrid Systems," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 14(4), pages 1-17, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jeners:v:14:y:2021:i:4:p:1106-:d:502201

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    References listed on IDEAS

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