Signature Projects are intended to bring focus to a selection of U.S. Department of Energy's Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) projects. By designating a Signature Project, the project reports, datasets, and associated papers can be easily discoverable. By bringing together all aspects of a project, whether a completed legacy project or an ongoing investigation, the MRE community can be informed of what investigations have been undertaken, which have succeeded, what tools are available, and where gaps in information persist.
Phase I of this project (2016–2018) collected and generated a large amount of resource data, developed high-resolution wave and tidal models, and developed a wave energy resource classification scheme. In Phase 2 of this project (2019–2022), the goal is to lower the cost of marine energy and accelerate marine energy technology development by refining, extending, and disseminating the data necessary for engineering robust and efficient marine energy devices and projects.
The project is organized around five primary activity areas: wave modelling and analysis, tidal current modelling and analysis, resource characterization and classification, resource measurement, and data dissemination. PNNL leads the modelling efforts, Sandia leads characterization and classification work, and NREL serves as the lead for resource measurements, data dissemination, and the overall project. All of these activities are conducted with careful attention to best practices and methods recommended by the International Electrotechnical Commission's (IEC) Technical Committee (TC) 114. The project also has several public and private partners and holds quarterly calls with a steering committee of international experts and U.S. industry representatives to solicit guidance on key project decisions.
The data and tools generated by this project can be used for device design and optimal siting processes for technology developers, economic assessments for project developers, energy assessments (power supply and energy portfolio diversification) for regional planners and policy makers, operational reliability and economic assessments for utilities and investors, environmental impacts studies for regulatory agencies.
Wave Modelling and Analysis
High-resolution wave models for all of the US coastal regions extending to the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) (Allahdadi et al 2019, Wu et al. 2020, Yang et al. 2020, Garcia-Medina et al. 2021, Li et al. 2021). All hindcast data are in the process of being made publicly available on the Open Energy Data Initiative’s Cloud server. Data include six IEC parameters (significant wave height, mean wave energy period, omni-directional wave power, spectral width, maximum energy direction, directionality coefficient) and several other variables (mean peak wave period, mean zero-crossing period, mean absolute period) and extend 32 years (1979-2010) in 3-hour temporal resolution, with horizontal spatial resolution as fine as 200 m in shallow water.
Tidal Current Modelling and Analysis
High-resolution tidal current models have been created for some of the nation’s largest tidal energy resource sites – Cook Inlet, Alaska; Puget Sound, Washington; and Western Passage, Maine (Wang and Yang 2020, Yang et al. 2020, Yang et al. 2021). Data generated from the tidal models include tidal water levels, three-dimensional tidal currents and tidal harmonic constituents for both tides and currents. In addition, modeling analysis is carried out to refine and improve methodologies for tidal current resource estimate in tidal channels and coastal bays.
Resource Characterization and Classification
Developed high-fidelity methods for wave energy resource characterization (Ahn et al. 2020).
Developed methods for characterizing extreme wave conditions used for WEC design (e.g., the 50-year return period wave height) (Neary et al. 2020).
Developed four classification systems, including resource classification systems (wave, tidal) and device classification systems (wave energy converters, tidal energy converters), as detailed in Neary et al. 2019.
Presented classification systems to the IEC standards body committees for comment, both at the TC 114 International Plenary in the Netherlands in April 2019 and at national committees (e.g., US, UK) in 2019-2020.