Nearshore assessment of wave energy resources in central Chile (2009–2010)

Highlights

Wave energy potential was studied for the nearshore area in central Chile during 2009–2010.

Nearshore wave energy are described with WaveWatch III® using a high resolution unstructured grid.

Wave energy potential estimates are in range with previous reports.

Punta Curaumilla is confirmed as a local hot spot for wave energy.

Abstract

The goal of this work is to estimate nearshore wave energy resources in central Chile with high spatial resolution. Due to the lack of in situ measurements a suite of numerical models are used to assess the wave energy between 2009 and 2010. We compare the effects of different wind forcing reanalysis, particularly CFSR and ERA-Interim, and physics parametrizations on numerical simulations of the nearshore wave energy fluxes near Valparaiso (33°S), central Chile. For this we utilize WAVEWATCH III®, an open source community spectral wave model, configured with a high resolution unstructured grid (200–400 m at the coast). Our results show a difference of 3 kW/m in wave power estimations when using different wind reanalysis, and less a difference of less than 0.5 kW/m when adding the triad wave interactions term. Statistical indicators calculated using buoy and altimeter data for comparison favor the use of ERA-Interim winds and including triad wave interactions. For the Valparaiso region, the area south of Punta Curaumilla was confirmed as a hot spot of wave energy (4–5 MW/yr), with the most energetic and frequent sea state described by Te of 9–11 s and H_s 2.5–3.5 m.

Keywords

  • WAVEWATCH III®;
  • Wave energy;
  • Nearshore;
  • Numerical model;
  • Chile

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