In this work, we develop a high-resolution oceanographic database, suitable for marine renewable energy (MRE) applications. We apply downscaling techniques, using ROMS numerical model, to generate a 29-year (1985–2013), high-resolution (325 m), hourly sea level and currents (10 vertical levels) hindcast that reproduces storm surge and astronomical tide dynamics at a MRE test site (BiMEP) in the Bay of Biscay.
The results are fully validated using instrumental data. We also analyze the result sensitivity to the open boundary conditions. We find that using boundary conditions from a baroclinic reanalysis, reproducing a wide range of physical processes, does not give more accurate results than a barotropic reanalysis, reproducing storm surge and astronomical tides, the main forcings at the study area. This analysis also leads us to address the importance of the temporal extent in the databases used for MRE applications.
Finally, the generated hindcast is used to analyze normal and extreme currents and sea level regimes in BiMEP, following the internationally accepted standards for the design of MRE converters. The generated database offers MRE converter developers an alternative to the often-proposed empirical formulae for the definition of the design cases to consider in the loads and safety analysis of their devices.