High resolution wave and tidal energy resource assessment in the Irish and western UK waters

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Furlong, Rebecca
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University College Cork
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As island countries, both Ireland and the UK have long and extensive coastlines, making offshore renewable energy easily accessible. Previous studies in the area have shown that there is resource availability for both wave and tidal energy in UK and Irish waters, with an abundant wave resource off the west coast of Ireland and a well-known tidal resource within the Irish and Celtic Seas. The Irish Climate Action Plan 2019 set out that 70% of electricity would come from renewable sources by 2030, meaning that research and development that is ongoing in the offshore industry is key to reaching that target. This study aims to create new, updated GIS layers showing both the wave and tidal energy resource as well as the parameters needed to compute them, including significant wave heights, wave energy periods and tidal current speeds. The Copernicus Marine Service recently updated two models that now contain wave spectrum data at high resolutions, both less than 5 kilometres, and long hindcasts of greater than 20 years. The accessibility of this data means that the wave energy resource can be modelled very accurately at high resolutions, a parameter that is hugely important for marine renewable energy developers to gain an understanding of potential deployment site characteristics. Data for tidal resource analysis is available through the Irish Marine Institute and is based on a ROMS model. This study has shown that the Copernicus models correlate very well with each other, and it is possible to create resource layers for use in GIS with the data. This information is imperative for marine renewable energy developers at a first stage so they can have a thorough understanding of the resource availability and conditions available at a proposed site. Having resource information available within a GIS tool can give developers a spatial overview of where the best resource is available, while the GIS can also provide valuable information such as the location of the closest grid connections and the nature of the underlying bedrock, all factors that can influence the location of a wave or tidal farm.
Wave energy , Tidal energy , GIS
Furlong, R. 2021. High resolution wave and tidal energy resource assessment in the Irish and western UK waters. MRes Thesis, University College Cork.
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