The deployment and operation of a floating and/or submerged tidal technology in the United States coastal water require characterizing tidal stream resource potential and assessing environmental conditions and satisfying all environmental permitting requirements. The waters of Cook Inlet, Alaska have some of the strongest and most consistent tidal currents in the U.S. This project seeks to examine the potential for tidal energy development in Turnagain Arm, an inlet between Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula (Figure (a)), in the upper Cook Inlet. The Turnagain Arm Tidal Electricity Generation (TATEG) site covers 137 square miles of Turnagain Arm where the tidal range at the site reaches 10m, and has been awarded a FERC preliminary permit P#15109 (Figure (b)). While there is some preliminary data available, this site’s water speeds, environmental and biological concerns have not previously been characterized. Tidal Energy Corporation has requested technical assistance from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for their expertise in assessing these characteristics.

The technical assistance provided under this award is intended to examine the tidal currents and assess those that are most suitable for tidal energy development through validated numerical models, and to assess the optimal tidal turbine deployment areas within Turnagain Arm from an environmental, logistic, and regulatory perspective. Areas that are best suited for bottom based, mid column and floating tidal technologies will be considered.

Tidal Energy Corp is proposing to develop TATEG into the United States’ first grid scale tidal stream development. TEC is also proposing that a portion of the TATEG site is dedicated to the formation of a permanent tidal energy prototype test site. This request for technical assistance with environmental assessment, likely permitting and regulatory pathways, and numerical modeling for overall site characterization is foundational to any and all development of the site.

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