Wave energy converter (WEC) arrays deployed in coastal regions may create physical disturbances, potentially resulting in environmental stresses. Presently, limited information is available on the nature of these physical disturbance or the resultant effects. A quantitative Spatial Environmental Assessment Tool (SEAT) for evaluating the potential effects of wave energy converter (WEC) arrays on nearshore hydrodynamics and sediment transport is presented for the central Oregon coast (USA) through coupled numerical model simulations of an array of WECs. Derived climatological wave conditions were used as inputs to the model to allow for the calculation of risk metrics associated with various hydrodynamic and sediment transport variables such as maximum shear stress, bottom velocity, and change in bed elevation. The risk maps provided simple, quantitative, and spatially-resolved means of evaluating physical changes in the vicinity of a hypothetical WEC array in response to varying wave conditions. The near-field risk of sediment mobility was determined to be moderate in the lee of the densely spaced array, where the potential for increased sediment deposition could result in benthic habitat alteration. Modifications to the nearshore sediment deposition and erosion patterns were observed near headlands and topographic features, which could have implications for littoral sediment transport. The results illustrate the benefits of a risk evaluation tool for facilitating coastal resource management at early market marine renewable energy sites.
Spatial Environmental Assessment Tool (SEAT): A Modeling Tool to Evaluate Potential Environmental Risks Associated with Wave Energy Converter Deployments
Title: Spatial Environmental Assessment Tool (SEAT): A Modeling Tool to Evaluate Potential Environmental Risks Associated with Wave Energy Converter Deployments
August 06, 2018
Jones, C.; Chang, G.; Raghukumar, K.; McWilliams, S.; Dallman, A.; Roberts, J. (2018). Spatial Environmental Assessment Tool (SEAT): A Modeling Tool to Evaluate Potential Environmental Risks Associated with Wave Energy Converter Deployments. Energies, 11(8), 2036.