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Inter-annual and inter-seasonal variability of the Orkney wave power resource

Neill, Simon P.; Lewis, Matt J.; Hashemi, M. Reza; Slater, Emma; Lawrence, John; Spall, Steven A.. 2014 Inter-annual and inter-seasonal variability of the Orkney wave power resource. Applied Energy, 132. 339-348. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.07.023

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Abstract/Summary

The waters surrounding the Orkney archipelago in the north of Scotland are one of the key regions in the world suitable for exploitation of both wave and tidal energy resources. Accordingly, Orkney waters are currently host to 1.08 GW of UK Crown Estate leased wave and tidal energy projects, with a further 0.5 GW leased in the southern part of the adjacent Pentland Firth. Although several wave resource models exist of the region, most of these models are commercial, and hence the results not publicly available, or have insufficient spatial/temporal resolution to accurately quantify the wave power resource of the region. In particular, no study has satisfactorily resolved the inter-annual and inter-seasonal variability of the wave resource around Orkney. Here, the SWAN wave model was run at high resolution on a high performance computing system, quantifying the Orkney wave power resource over a ten year period (2003–2012), a decade which witnessed considerable inter-annual variability in the wave climate. The results of the validated wave model demonstrate that there is considerable variability of the wave resource surrounding Orkney, with an extended winter (December–January–February–March, DJFM) mean wave power ranging from 10 to 25 kW/m over the decade of our study. Further, the results demonstrate that there is considerably less uncertainty (30%) in the high energy region to the west of Orkney during winter months, in contrast to much greater uncertainty (60%) in the lower energy region to the east of Orkney. The DJFM wave resource to the west of Orkney correlated well with the DJFM North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Although a longer simulated time period would be required to fully resolve inter-decadal variability, these preliminary results demonstrate that due to considerable inter-annual variability in the NAO, it is important to carefully consider the time period used to quantify the wave power resource of Orkney, or regions with similar exposure to the North Atlantic. Finally, our study reveals that there is significantly less variability in the practical wave power resource, since much of the variability in the theoretical resource is contained within relatively few extreme events, when a wave device enters survival mode.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.07.023
ISSN: 03062619
Additional Keywords: Wave power; Wave resource; SWAN wave model; Inter-annual variability; North Atlantic Oscillation; Orkney
Date made live: 23 Oct 2014 13:07 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/508672

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