The growing requirements for renewable energy production lead to the development of a new series of systems, including wave energy conversion systems. Due to their sensitivity and the impact of the aggressive marine environment, the selection of the most adequate location for these systems is a major and very important task. Several factors, such as technological limitations, environmental conditions, administrative and logistic conditions, have to be taken into account in order to support the decision for best location.
This paper describes a geo-spatial multi-criteria analysis methodology, based on geographic information systems technology, for identification of the best location to deploy a wave energy farm. This methodology is not conversion system dependent and therefore can be easily customized for different systems and implementation conditions. Selection factors can include, for example, ocean depth, sea bottom type, existing underwater cables, marine protected areas, ports location, shoreline, power grid location, military exercise areas, climatology of wave significant height, period and power.
A case study demonstrating this methodology is presented, for an area offshore the Portuguese southwest coast. The system output allows a clear differential identification of the best spots for implementing a wave energy farm. It is not just a simple Boolean result showing valid and invalid locations, but a layer with a valued suitability for farm deployment.