Increased activity in the offshore renewable energy sector has driven the need for an improvement in the understanding of design wave conditions and wave climate, which are fundamental to the development of any marine energy project. This has amplified the need for a set of unifying standards that address the shortcomings in input wave data, analysis and modelling methods. This paper aims to highlight the implications of fulfilling IEC 62600-101 standards in the context of a utility led wave energy project: WestWave.
The goal of the IEC standards is to enhance the accuracy and dependability of the wave resournce assessment and associated methodologies with the ultimate aim of improving the design process. It is important to remember that wave climate analysis and modelling will shape design decisions and commercial outcomes, thus it is important that these observations be held to high standards.
The WestWave project involves the development of a 5MW wave energy converter (WEC) array off the coast of Killard Point in Co. Clare, Ireland. WECs will be installed in either nearshore or offshore areas (Figure 1), depending on the technology type. This paper demonstrates the process of generating a 24 year hindcast at the Killard Point site to IEC standards and further highlights the difficulties that are found in meeting the stringent requirements outlined therein. The wave climate and resource modelling methodology and validation processes undertaken will be detailed by the authors. Issues associated with data acquisition of hindcast boundary conditions, validation of data sources and modelling of the area in MIKE 21 SW software will be highlighted.
Finally, potential opportunities will be highlighted for further work to improve upon best practice in terms of validity, cost and the practicality of implementing IEC 62600-101.