Wave Resource Spatial and Temporal Variability Dependence on WEC Size

Bryson Robertson, Gabrielle Dunkle, Tim Mundon, Levi Kilcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the wave energy sector grows and looks to the Blue Economy for commercialization opportunities, there is a distinct and pressing need to clearly understand and quantify the coupled impacts of wave energy converter (WEC) size and wave resource characteristics on the annual energy production, spatial variability and temporal variability. Utilizing generic frequency domain representations of the Oscilla Power Triton WEC and spectral wave conditions at PacWave (Oregon), Los Angeles (California) and WETS (Hawaii), a series of interesting results emerge. Firstly, the ‘optimal’ WEC size, from an energy standpoint, is fundamentally dependent on the frequency distribution of the incoming wave variance density spectrum. Secondly, and from a seasonality perspective, the seasonal WEC energy generation doesn’t necessarily follow the seasonal distribution of gross wave power. Finally, from an hourly power variability perspective, a reduction in WEC size generally decreases variability. However, for each of the locations investigated, there appears to be a WEC size threshold; a threshold where further reducing WEC size results in increased power variability.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Marine Energy Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-83494


  • Blue Economy
  • Wave resource assessment
  • Wave Spectrum
  • WEC Modelling


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