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Waves and Coasts in the Pacific - Cost Analysis of Wave Energy in the Pacific

Cyprien, Bosserelle and Reddy, Sandeep K. and Kruger, Jens (2015) Waves and Coasts in the Pacific - Cost Analysis of Wave Energy in the Pacific. [Professional and Technical Reports]

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    Ocean waves are often cited as an appealing source of renewable energy in the Pacific but the cost effectiveness of wave energy converters (WECs) is deemed unproven and the technology is rarely considered as a reliable renewable energy resource in Pacific Island countries. However, single/stand-alone WECs could be a competitive option against fossil fuel generators because of the high cost of imported fuel. This study analyses the wave energy resource in the Pacific and calculates the potential cost and power generation of a benchmark WEC in Pacific Island countries. The type of WEC chosen depends largely on the environmental and geophysical characteristics of the wave energy site where it is to be deployed. The aim of this study was not to report on the best device for each site but rather to give advice about the islands that could benefit most from wave energy. Therefore, the cost analysis is based on a single WEC – the Pelamis device. The Pelamis device cost presented here serves as a benchmark for comparison with other WECs in different locations. Due to uncertainties and variations in potential costs across the region, the study evaluated the range of costs applicable to the whole region. The costs of the WEC, transport, installation, operation and management, refit and decommissioning are included. Site-specific potential power generation was calculated, based on a realistic power output dependent on the wave conditions. The study found that Pacific islands south of latitude 20oS receive a substantial amount of wave energy with a mean available wave resource above 20 kilowatts per metre (kW/m) and that many other islands also have potential for wave energy extraction with a mean wave resource above 7 kW/m. This study found that a Pelamis device in the Pacific could cost between USD 6,318,000 and USD 14,104,000 to install and can operate for 25 years. The energy produced by such a device could be up to 1200 megawatt hours (MWh) per year for sites exposed to large swells. Using these values, the range of the total lifetime cost of power generation was calculated to be between USD 200/MWh for exposed sites and USD 1800/MWh for more sheltered sites. The corresponding operation and maintenance generation cost are between USD 40/MWh and USD 900/MWh. These costs are on a par with the cost of generation of other renewable energies, such as wind and solar, and, for exposed sites, on a par with the cost of diesel generation. These findings suggest that wave energy is a genuine contender for the development of renewable energy in the Pacific and should no longer be ignored when planning such development; a concerted effort from all stakeholders should be made in order to benefit from this technology. Further deployment in wave technology will reduce the cost of single wave energy devices, and most small Pacific Islands would not need to deploy large-scale wave farms of ten or more devices, as power production would greatly exceed the demand. With expected rises in fuel prices in the next decades, it would be wise to investigate further the potential of wave energy technology. The deployment of WECs in the Pacific could provide an opportunity for the technology to prove itself in the region and attract the attention of investors, policy makers and decision makers to invest in wave energy development in the Pacific . Page | 2 Waves and Coasts in the Pacific Other recommendations are listed below. 1. French Polynesia, the Austral Islands in particular, should investigate potential wave energy sites. On these islands, wave energy generation could become a major renewable energy resource with a relatively low cost that could even compete with fossil fuel. 2. Tonga, Cook Islands and New Caledonia should also investigate wave energy sites and suitable wave energy devices. Wave energy has a great potential for helping these countries reach their renewable energy targets and supply energy more cheaply than other renewable energy resources. 3. Countries with a mean wave energy flux above 7 kW/m should also investigate wave energy hotspots and wave energy device options, especially in exposed locations. There, wave energy may be able to supply a significant amount of renewable energy and help these countries meet their renewable energy targets. However, wave energy in these locations may be more expensive than other types of renewable energy. 4. Countries with a mean wave energy flux of less than 7 kW/m, such as Papua New Guinea and Solomon islands, are unlikely to benefit from wave energy unless a major technological breakthrough makes wave energy devices much more efficient. These countries should therefore not consider wave energy as a significant renewable energy resource. The WACOP project has provided calculations similar to those presented in this study for more than 200 Pacific locations in wave climate reports that should be consulted as an initial assessment of the wave energy resource available.1 The WACOP project also provides a detailed wave climate analysis for Samoa, Rarotonga in Cook Islands, Tongatapu and 'Eua in Tonga, southern Viti Levu in Fiji, Efate in Vanuatu, and Funafuti in Tuvalu. These analyses include wave energy and cost calculations based on the calculations presented in this report.

    Item Type: Professional and Technical Reports
    Subjects: T Technology > TC Hydraulic engineering. Ocean engineering
    Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Engineering and Physics
    Depositing User: Sandeep Reddy
    Date Deposited: 05 May 2016 14:16
    Last Modified: 05 May 2016 14:16

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