Understanding the impact of various hydraulic structures, such as coastal reservoirs and tidal range impoundments, has been one of the key challenges of hydro–environmental engineering in recent years. Over the last half-century, several proposals for tidal range schemes in the UK have been scrutinised and then abandoned due to the uncertainty over the environmental footprint and/or the cost of electricity. Therefore, it is essential to understand the fundamental assumptions for reliable hydrodynamic analysis of these projects. This study examined the impact of the fully conserved momentum through tidal structures using a novel approach. The method was applied to 2D and 3D versions of the regional model of Swansea Bay tidal lagoon, examining two different types of velocity distribution at turbine exit. A simplified distribution significantly increased the velocity and length of the jet exiting the turbines during power generation. A realistic distribution gave more accurate results, with jet velocities more closely resembling the situation without including the momentum. The 3D model with realistic distribution has markedly improved the resulting vertical velocity profile. The value of the improved methodology for momentum conservation has proved to be particularly useful in local-scale studies. It can be applied to other similar hydraulic structures and used for the analysis of sediment transport, water quality, etc.
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