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Assessment of Potential Morphodynamic Response To Wave Hub

Date: November 05, 2013 at 16:29 GMT

Marine energy installations have the potential to significantly alter the waves propagating towards nearby coastlines. During the planning and permitting phase for the Wave Hub (Cornwall, UK,, the potential reduction of wave energy at the shoreline and the associated response of coastal systems emerged as a critical issue for stakeholder acceptance. A change to the wave field has the potential to cause direct impacts on the coastal processes which determine the morphodynamic stability of the beach. Growth of marine renewables globally, and the creation of the South West Marine Energy Park, supports the need for detailed research and assessment of possible impacts.
This paper details the results from three years of coastal monitoring, including topographic surveys and video analysis, which have been used to assess the natural variability to seasonal and storm induced shifts in the wave climate at four sites in the lee of Wave Hub. Analysis of morphodynamic stability identifies highly dynamic beaches driven by storm events with response rates ranging from weeks-months. The study concludes that in this case the predicted impacts on nearshore wave conditions, from wave energy converters, would result in non-quantifiable impacts on the beach morphodynamics and remain within the natural variability observed. 

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