Wave energy potential of the US West CoastS. Himmelstein | December 29, 2020
An assessment of wave energy resources on the U.S. west coast has identified promising regions for wave energy converter installation in the nearshore of Washington and Oregon. The analysis conducted by U.S. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers can be used to prioritize hotspots for power system deployment and to inform resource estimates for different marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies.
The resource potential was evaluated with simulation models incorporating climate data for the 1979 to 2010 period and measurements from 28 wave buoys along 1,000 miles of coastline, providing accurate long-term wave hindcasts with a spatial resolution of approximate 300 m in the nearshore region. Wave energy yield was observed to be about equal for Washington and Oregon, with fewer hotspots identified in northern California and the least in southern California.
The publicly available high-resolution dataset covers mean wave direction, mean absolute period, total wave energy flux from all directions, maximum energy direction, omni-directional wave power and spectral width, or the relative spreading of energy in the wave spectrum. The data could also be of interest to the oil and gas industry for offshore platform engineering, to the offshore wind industry for turbine and array design, to offshore aquaculture production and to coastal communities for extreme hazards mitigation.