An Investigation of the Impacts of Climate Change on Wave Energy Generation: The Wave Hub, Cornwall, UK

Journal Article

Title: An Investigation of the Impacts of Climate Change on Wave Energy Generation: The Wave Hub, Cornwall, UK
Publication Date:
September 01, 2011
Journal: Coastal Engineering Research Group
Volume: 36
Issue: 9
Pages: 2404-2413
Publisher: Elsevier
Affiliation:
Technology Type:

Document Access

Website: External Link

Citation

Reeve, D.; Chen, Y.; Pan, S.; Magar, V.; Simmonds, D.; Zacharioudaki, A. (2011). An Investigation of the Impacts of Climate Change on Wave Energy Generation: The Wave Hub, Cornwall, UK. Coastal Engineering Research Group, 36(9), 2404-2413.
Abstract: 

In this paper a generic methodology is presented that allows the impacts of climate change on wave energy generation from a wave energy converter (WEC) to be quantified. The methodology is illustrated by application to the Wave Hub site off the coast of Cornwall, UK. Control and future wave climates were derived using wind fields output from a set of climate change experiments. Control wave conditions were generated from wind data between 1961 and 2000. Future wave conditions were generated using two IPCC wind scenarios from 2061 to 2100, corresponding to intermediate and low greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC scenarios A1B and B1 respectively). The quantitative comparison between future scenarios and the control condition shows that the available wave power will increase by 2–3% in the A1B scenario. In contrast, the available wave power in the B1 scenario will decrease by 1–3%, suggesting, somewhat paradoxically, that efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions may reduce the wave energy resource. Meanwhile, the WEC energy will yield decrease by 2–3% in both A1B and B1 scenarios, which is mainly due to the relatively low efficiency of energy extraction from steeper waves by the specific WEC considered. Although those changes are relatively small compared to the natural variability, they may have significance when considered over the lifetime of a wave energy farm. Analysis of downtime under low and high thresholds suggests that the distribution of wave heights at the Wave Hub will have a wider spread due to the impacts of climate change, resulting in longer periods of generation loss. Conversely, the estimation of future changes in joint wave height-period distribution provides indications on how the response and power matrices of WECs could be modified in order to maintain or improve energy extraction in the future.

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