Ocean currents flowing beneath offshore platforms provide a wealth of energy that has previously gone untapped. Recent developments in alternative and renewable energy have provided a number of options for energy production, including tidal turbine technology. As such, the potential for safe, reliable and environmentally friendly energy production has captured the attention of platform operators. HEA was approached by one such operator to provide a feasibility study of existing technology for use on their Cook Inlet, AK platform.
A thorough investigation was performed to analyze available and developing tidal turbine technologies. Firms worldwide were contacted to obtain the most current information about the emerging industry and products. Consideration was given to potential power capabilities, ease of installation, maintenance accessibility and frequency, economic feasibility, and operational challenges associated with the harsh environmental conditions of the Cook Inlet. Using tidal cycle data to determine the annual power production and applying appropriate capital and operational costs over the anticipated lifespan of the turbine, a net present value (NPV) for each analyzed option was obtained and presented to the client.
While still in the early stages of development, tidal turbine technology has garnered significant attention on the world stage. With numerous research initiatives and prototype installations in the works, the industry shows promise for becoming a noteworthy participant in energy production.