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Impacts of Wave Power Productions Estimates due to Wave Resource Assessment Methods

Date: February 24, 2015 at 12:36 GMT

For the wave energy conversion industry to mature, the need for highly resolved estimates of theoretical power production cannot be overstated. These estimations allow developers to estimate costs per unit power, utilities to plan for reserve costing and policy makers to estimate the spatial extent extents involved in WEC activities. The accuracy of these estimations are a function of two areas of research; wave energy resource assessments and wave energy converter (WEC) technology modeling. Currently, these research areas are generally treated as independent stages of a serial process. In essence, through a detailed understanding of the WEC power production curve, it is possible to determine the amount of extractable wave energy transport is available to a specific WEC and limit the amount of unnecessary uncertainty which is inherently included in the gross wave resource assessment. These improved estimates will be used to inform the development of marine energy technical specifications and ensure power production estimates used to secure grants, financial investment and deployments sites provide good estimations of the final electricity produced. Through detailed analysis of both the performance curves from the UVic concept WEC and the wave climate off the coast of British Columbia, the objective of this paper will achieved; to determine the influence of wave resource assessment methodologies on wave power estimates.
The paper proceeds as follows: Section 2 details the database of SWAN and buoy measurements used to quantify the wave conditions. In Section 3, the WEC technology modelling procedure and performance curves are introduced. Section 4 presents the details of the differing methodologies available to characterize the same wave resource. In Section 5, detailed analyses of the wave data is completed and bivariate distributions for each method presents. Section 6 quantifies the impact of the differing wave resource methodologies on annual WEC power production estimates. Section 7 investigates whether WEC performance estimates are affected by numerical wave phase seeding, within the context of annual power production estimates. Finally, Section 8 presents conclusions and recommendations for future work.   

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