Document Type:Technical Results
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This project estimates the naturally available and technically recoverable U.S. wave energy resources, using a 51-month Wavewatch III hindcast database developed especially for this study by National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Centers for Environmental Prediction. For total resource estimation, wave power density in terms of kilowatts per meter is aggregated across a unit diameter circle. This approach is fully consistent with accepted global practice and more accurately indicates the resource made available by the lateral transfer of wave energy along wave crests, which enables wave diffraction to substantially reestablish wave power densities within a few kilometers of a linear array, even for fixed terminator devices.
To quantify the effect of using normally directed wave energy flux for wave energy resource estimation, the project team calculated the directional flux distribution at 17 National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) full-directional-hindcast stations in four regions that represent the variety of energetic U.S. wave climates.
Arrays are unable to absorb more wave energy than their capacity packing density permits, and this imposes a greater constraint on the technically recoverable resource in high-wave-energy regions such as Alaska and the West Coast—where available wave power densities greatly exceed realistic array capacity packing densities. In lower energy areas such as the East Coast, array packing densities can exceed available wave power densities. This enables them to recover a greater percentage of the available resource but also gives them a much lower capacity factor, greatly decreasing their economic viability at such high packing densities.
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