Analysis of the Impacts of Wave Energy Converter Arrays on the Nearshore Wave Climate


TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This study analyzes the impacts of offshore Wave Energy Converter (WEC) arrays on far-field waves and on nearshore wave-induced hydrodynamic forcing for a variety of array designs and incident wave conditions. The main objective of the study is to provide general conclusions on the nearshore impacts of WEC arrays in order to facilitate the assessment of future field test sites. The study utilizes the spectral wave model SWAN. Two array configurations are simulated, and WEC arrays are located either 5, 10, or 15 km offshore. Input conditions include parametric JONSWAP spectra with a range of offshore wave heights and periods. Trials are conducted with a directional wave field with the dominant direction being shore normal in all cases. Arrays are represented in SWAN through the external modification of the wave spectra at the device locations based on an experimentally-determined Power Transfer Function. Based on an analysis of existing field data, a new threshold for nearshore hydrodynamic impact is also established. The threshold represents an empirical relationship between radiation stress and longshore current magnitude. This threshold value is subsequently used as an indicator of when significant changes in the nearshore forcing are induced by WEC arrays. Results show that the changes in nearshore forcing parameters decrease as the distance between the array and the shore increases. Additionally, a more significant change in nearshore forcing parameters is seen in cases with larger input wave heights and periods and with low directional spread. The incident wave conditions, array configurations, and array locations that lead to nearshore impact are identified and assessed.



Wave energy conversion, Wave-induced hydrodynamic forcing