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Feasibility Analysis for a Tidal Energy Pilot Site in the Gulf of California

[+] Author Affiliations
Juan Carlos Tapia Olivas, Hector Enrique Ramírez Campbell, Margarita Gil Samaniego Ramos

Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexicali, BCN, México

Paper No. IMECE2013-65084, pp. V06BT07A087; 8 pages
  • ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 6B: Energy
  • San Diego, California, USA, November 15–21, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5629-1
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


Baja California is located in the northwestern region of Mexico and is a peninsula that borders the west by the Pacific coast and on the east by the Gulf of California, with 1,280 km of coastal area of which 560 km belong to the Gulf California and the rest to the Pacific Ocean. It is privileged with renewable energy resources and already has 720 MW of geothermal, 10 MW of Wind and 5 MW of Solar that presently are under construction. With the growing demand for electricity especially in the summer period, the use of tidal power is an opportunity to use a resource of this type in the coastal towns.

This paper presents an analysis which assesses the bays of Santa Maria, San Luis Gonzaga, Los Angeles, El Pescador, El Soldado, Las Animas and San Rafael, as sites with ideal features for the implementation of tidal power generation technology. The analysis, weighed the constructive feasibility, site bathymetry, environmental impact to the area, roads, generation capacity and population of nearby sites. The Port of San Felipe with a population of 16,945 inhabitants, is located in the Gulf of California, having a population growth rate of 2.3 % year, and has 4,579 users in the residential sector who demand 27,483 MWh annually, being the months of July to August when they consume 60% of the year’s energy.

It was calculated that the maximum estimated power potential was in the Bay of San Rafael with 14 MW, and the minimum power value was obtained for Bay of Soldado with 1.3 MW. However the Bay of Santa Maria with a maximum power of 2.5 MW is considered the most viable site for the development of a tidal project according to the weighing used primarily, due to its proximity to the Port of San Felipe.

One of the main restrictions for the development of tidal energy on these sites is the high environmental impact that could occur in these areas. Due to the that as biophysical characteristics and coastal geomorphology of these bays, these sites are very fragile in terms of negative impacts that could be generated by changes in ocean currents due to the construction of infrastructure for tidal generation.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Topics: Tides



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