Elsevier
Renewable Energy

Highlights

Joint assessment of both wave and tidal currents energy source was performed for the area for the first time.

Hindcast databases were developed specifically for these assessments.

Territorial seas uses, resources and ecological considerations are taken into account for defining potential exploitation zones.

Abstract

Marine energy sources are an untapped resource that is able to make a significant contribution to renewable and clean energy generation. In Uruguay, investments in renewable energy have experienced strong growth in recent years, mainly due to the development of wind energy farms. In this research, two marine energy sources are assessed on the Uruguayan shelf seas: wave energy and tidal currents energy. To this end, high-resolution hindcasts of wave and tidal currents were obtained based on state of the art numerical models, forced with reanalysis winds. The results were used to generate maps of energy potential for both resources, and these maps are overlapped on other uses and resources maps to identify potential exploitation zones.

The results confirm that since the country is located in a microtidal zone, wave energy is the most promising among the sources analysed. Nevertheless, a zone in the outer Rio de la Plata Estuary is identified as the most promising area for an experimental marine energy farm, where exploitation of both resources could be tested.

Keywords

Marine renewable energy

Wave energy

Tidal energy

Resource assessment

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