Testing the water

The first software programme to analyse the power generated by the wave and tidal industry is being developed by UK energy consultancy TNEI.

The team at TNEI is creating the model for its Interactive Power Systems Analysis (IPSA) software program so that it can analyse wave and tidal farms in a way that will help shape their development and design.

The IPSA program has already been used to analyse wind farms. This was the first time that software systems were used for the renewable energy form in the UK.

The wave and tidal software is being developed in tandem with the growth of the industry, which is currently in its relative infancy. TNEI hopes that, when the software model is completed at the end of 2009, it will be an essential tool in helping the industry to develop and mature.

IPSA software specialists are developing generic wave and tidal models for the program, which will work with real data to provide accurate predictions of the power that wave and tidal energy devices can provide. It is hoped that this will help with the design and development of the electrical network and grid connections for wave and tidal farms.

The TNEI team believes that there is a lack of industry data as early analysis has focused on device concepts and prototypes. The group feels that, as the industry matures, the IPSA software will allow manufacturers and developers to look at the connection of wave and tidal devices to the national grid and the impact and implications of these variable power sources.

‘The wave and tidal industry is a very young, underdeveloped industry faced with lots of unanswered questions,’ said Adam Maloyd, a technical consultant for the power systems division at TNEI. ‘The new IPSA software development will help developers to gather accurate and meaningful information, model different wave and tidal farm scenarios and facilitate the development of more robust systems.’