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Effect of water depth on the wave energy resource and extreme wave conditions

Date: November 05, 2013 at 15:24 GMT

For device developers and operators, the decision of where to deploy a wave energy converter (WEC) is a compromise between the available wave power and site accessibility. The advantage of deploying a WEC further offshore is that wave energy is larger than in shallower depths. However, the costs of cabling, installation and maintenance may be significantly reduced if deploying further inshore.
In this paper the effect of the water depth on the wave energy resource and extreme wave conditions is studied. A generic study as well as a case study for the northern Cornish coast, in the region of the Wave Hub development, is conducted. Special attention is paid to the difference in wave power in the depth range of 50 to 30 meters. This study shows that energy losses in this range are relatively small compared to the energy losses in the breaker zone.
Furthermore, the results from the Wave Hub site are compared with the idealized study. The comparison shows that the power loss is for most circumstances in the same order of magnitude as the power loss for the matching idealized case. 

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