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Abstract

We analyzed the peak spring tidal current speeds, annual mean tidal power densities (TPD) and annual energy production (AEP) obtained from experiment 06.1, referred as the "HYCOM model" throughout, of the three dimensional (3D), global model HYCOM in an area covering the Baja California Pacific and the Gulf of California. The HYCOM model is forced with astronomical tides and surface winds alone, and therefore is particularly suitable to assess the tidal current and wind-driven current contribution to in-stream energy resources. We find two areas within the Gulf of California, one in the Great Island Region and one in the Upper Gulf of California, where peak spring tidal flows reach speeds of 1.1 meters per second. Second to fifth-generation tidal stream devices would be suitable for deployment in these two areas, which are very similar in terms of tidal in-stream energy resources. However, they are also very different in terms of sediment type and range in water depth, posing different challenges for in-stream technologies. The highest mean TPD value when excluding TPDs equal or less than 50 W/m2 (corresponding to the minimum velocity threshold for energy production) is of 172.8 W/m2, and is found near the town of San Felipe, at (lat lon) = (31.006 -114.64); here energy would be produced during 39.00% of the time. Finally, wind-driven currents contribute very little to the mean TPD and the total AEP. Therefore, the device, the grid, and any energy storage plans need to take into account the periodic tidal current fluctuations, for optimal exploitation of the resources.

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