When looking for a location for a wave energy converter (WEC) installation, developers usually look for sites with high or very high wave energy resource. From this perspective, countries like Scotland or Ireland have made great effort to include this energy source in their energy mix due to their expected high untapped potential. However, higher resource carries marine operation restrictions. Because of that, the selection of a site for a WEC deployment, the installation, operation and maintenance factors have to be considered from the beginning.
In this work an analysis of the suitable locations for the development of wave energy is performed based on the operation and maintenance (O&M) parameters. This study is performed across the globe coastlines taking the met-ocean climate data from Reguero et al (2011) global reanalysis database (GOW) developed at IH Cantabria.
Firstly, an analysis of the global availability and accessibility levels is performed all around the globe taking different wave height thresholds into account. Seven specific locations (North-West Denmark, West of Ireland, Chile, North of Spain, West Portugal, South-West Australia and North of Scotland) with high interest on wave energy have been further analyzed and compared.
Secondly, the O&M access limits are quantified in terms of the weather windows and the waiting period between available weather windows. A statistical analysis of these parameters is performed within different weather windows lengths (6 h, 12 h and 24 h). The seasonality of these parameters is also analyzed. Finally, a failure analysis will be carried out, simulating the repair operation along the lifecycle of the device for different failure rates and waiting times. The affection of this failure and repair scheme over the power production of a device analyzed previously in Andres et al (2014) will be presented.
In this study, some locations with high resource (Spain, Nova Scotia) lead to medium to high accessibilities/availabilities due to the balance between resource and persistence of the weather conditions. Some locations with high resource such as Chile or Australia resulted inaccessible during very long periods of time due to the persistence of severe conditions and then not very recommended for novel converters with uncertain failure rates.