Ocean Wave Energy: Integrated assessment of the global and regional potential of wave energy
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In this study the global potential of ocean wave energy has been assessed on a 0.5 by 0.5 decimal degree grid cell resolution, which can be used as input for the TIMER integrated assessment energy model of the IMAGE framework created by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving (PBL)). Using a 10-year period dataset, obtained from the ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) WAM model archive and calibrated with a global buoy and Topex satellite altimeter database by OCEANOR, the global theoretical wave power potential has been estimated. This theoretical potential is reduced due to several geographic constraints like shipping activity, ice coverage and marine protected areas. Subsequently, the global and regional technical potential is determined using a cost-trade off model and assuming a reference device and a reference farm. The global technical potential was estimated to be 3,695 TWh/year with high potential regions Oceania (847 TWh/year), Western Europe (704 TWh/year), South-America (excluding Brasil) (534 TWh/year) and the USA (431 TWh/year). These results were used to construct a cost-supply curve, which gives an impression of the current levelized cost of electricity. The lowest costs were estimated to be 15 US$2005cents per kWh, which is compared with conventional electricity sources and more the developed renewables (in the order of 5 to 10 ￼US$2005cents/kWh), too high to compete in the current electricity mix. However, it is expected that ocean wave energy could potentially produce a reasonable amount of electricity on a regional level in the future when more research and development is done and if governmental support in the form of subsidies could reduce the costs of electricity.