The impact of wave energy converter arrays on wave-induced forcing in the surf zone

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  • An alternative metric for assessing nearshore hydrodynamic impact due to Wave Energy Converter (WEC) arrays is presented that is based on the modeled changes in alongshore radiation stress gradients in the lee of the array. The metric is developed using a previously observed relationship between measured radiation stresses and alongshore current magnitudes. Next, a parametric study is conducted using the spectral model SWAN to analyze the nearshore impact of different WEC array designs. A realistic range of array configurations, locations, and incident wave conditions are examined and conditions that generate alongshore radiation stress gradients exceeding a chosen impact threshold on a uniform beach are identified. Finally, the methodology is applied to two permitted WEC test sites to assess the applicability of the results to sites with more realistic bathymetries. For these sites, the overall trends seen in the changes in wave height, direction, and radiation stress gradients in the lee of the array are similar to those seen in the parametric study. However, interactions between the wave field and real bathymetry induce additional alongshore variability in wave-induced forcing. Results indicate that array induced changes can exceed the natural variability up to 15% of the time with certain array designs and locations.
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  • 161
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  • 0029-8018



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