Wave Energy Assessments: Quantifying the Resource and Understanding the Uncertainty



The vast global wave energy resource holds great promise as an abundant, carbon-neutral resource for electricity generation. For wave energy to make a significant and measurable role in reducing our carbon footprint, highly resolved and accurate assessments of the gross wave resource are a necessity. A comprehensive wave resource assessment provides a quantitative summary of the full directional wave spectra over a period of time and parameterizes the necessary data to mitigate uncertainty and risk. However, the reduction of detailed wave spectra into parametric representations inherently discards important details about the wave characteristics and introduces uncertainty. The goal of a resource assessment is to quantify the wave resource as completely as possible, through specific parameterizations, and minimize the associated uncertainty. This chapter provides an overview of in-situ and remote wave measurement data collection techniques, and an introduction to the dominant numerical wave propagation models used for wave resource assessments (WAM, WWIII, SWAN, TOMAWAC, and MIKE-21 SW). An explanation of standard oceanographic wave parameterizations and an in-depth review of dominant resource assessment methodologies provide a baseline assessment. Several higher fidelity assessment techniques, extreme value analyses, and additional environmental factors are subsequently presented, and the impacts on wave energy converter power production estimates are quantified. Finally, an introduction to marine spatial planning provides a framework within which to identify locations of interest for wave energy conversion. This chapter provides a detailed framework for baseline and higher-order resource assessment methodologies to provide policymakers with the necessary resource and uncertainty data to help nurture the nascent industry, provide developers with compulsory knowledge required to design wave energy converters, and allow utilities to design large-scale energy systems for grid integration of wave-generated energy.


Wave Height Wave Energy Wave Condition Significant Wave Height Wave Spectrum 
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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Integrated Energy SystemsUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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