GIS techno-economic tool development and application for wave and tidal energy

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O'Connell, Ross
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University College Cork
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The ocean energy sector is progressing towards commercialisation, with wave and tidal energy demonstration projects now being deployed across the globe. Well informed site selection and project feasibility analysis for commercial farms will be reliant on high-quality geospatial data and techno-economic tools/models respectively. The research undertaken for this doctoral thesis involved the modelling of new geospatial data which will be critical to future site suitability analyses for ocean energy farms in Ireland and the UK. This included new high-resolution geodata on the ocean energy resources, met-ocean characteristics, farm accessibility, device availability and energy production based on real wave and tidal energy devices. Other relevant criteria mapped as part of the research included proximity to port and grid access, bathymetry, seabed character, marine traffic and fishing activity. A fully open-access Web-GIS tool has been developed to host this data and includes functionality enabling the user to perform interactive site suitability and project feasibility analysis through the integration of a built-in site selection aid and techno-economic calculator, the latter of which couples geodata with techno-economic data to facilitate the calculation of project feasibility estimates. Site selection case studies performed using this geodata in conjunction with ocean energy technology developer input have revealed vast areas, primarily in the west of the study area, suitable for wave energy deployment and less extensive areas, primarily in the east of the study area, suitable for tidal energy deployment, varying somewhat depending on technology type. Advanced geospatial modelling of the levelized cost of energy for wave energy in the region has also been performed, revealing the areas likely to achieve the best return on investment for future commercial scale deployment in the region. A detailed site-specific project feasibility case study using the techno-economic calculator demonstrated its application for tidal energy.
Wave energy , Tidal energy , GIS , Techno economics , Offshore , Renewable energy
O'Connell, R. 2023. GIS techno-economic tool development and application for wave and tidal energy. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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