Primary Resource Assessment in a Portuguese Offshore Renewables Pilot Zone

The wave energy services in implemented in BigDataOcean (BDO) can be used to evaluate the characteristics of the resource (waves) in user-selected areas. Using the BDO platform capabilities and the existing datasets, this post describes a high level assessment performed for the Portuguese Pilot Zone for Offshore Renewables, which exits in the Atlantic Coast of Portugal, and whose details can be accessed at Using the “Wave Resource Assessment (Area)” service from BDO, inputting the approximate coordinates of the pilot Zone, and selecting an analysis considering the Copernicus Iberian Waves Hourly Aggregated Wave Watch 3 (WW3) model (available at BDO here: ) it is currently possible to evaluate wave characteristics since January 2015. The average available wave power per wave crest (kW/m) verified in this period (from January 2015 to June 15th 2019) for the pilot zone is depicted in the next figure.

As can be seen in this picture, there is almost no variation from the results obtained over the pilot zone, which range from 20.6 kW/m to 21.4 Kw/m. These corresponds to average wave significant heights of 2.05 m and 2.11 m respectively.
Looking into extreme conditions verified in the considered period, obtained results indicate maximum available powers in the range of 400 MW, as depicted in the next picture. These correspond to wave heights close to 8.5 m which can already create problems for the survivability of some technologies used for wave energy conversion.

The results presented here were obtained using a WW3 numerical model as dataset for wave characteristics. Although it is a well-known numerical model, BDO platform can also be used to check the similarity between results obtained using the models and in-situ measurements.
The next graph shows a comparison between data obtained using the aforementioned WW3 model and in-situ measurements performed using a buoy, located near the pilot zone under study (south). The dataset that contains data for this and other buoys is also available at BDO platform. As can be seen, obtained results are quite similar, indicating that the model is well parametrized for the area under study and the obtained results are accurate.

These results can be used to have a first idea of the wave conditions in the Pilot Zone. Although the sea characteristics are very similar in the whole zone thus no large variations are expected, a more detailed study is recommended as the used dataset has a coarse grid, compared to the area under study.

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