M. Veigas, R. Carballo, and G. Iglesias – Energy for Sustainable Development, December 2013
The island of Fuerteventura, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Atlantic Ocean, aims to develop renewable energy sources, in particular wave and offshore wind energy, to reduce its carbon footprint. In this context, the objectives of this work are: (i) to assess the wave and offshore wind resources around the island; and (ii) to determine the area or areas that are best suited for their exploitation, taking into account the resource assessment and other conditioning factors such as the bathymetry, distance to the coastline and ports, and offshore zoning prescribed by the authorities. To accomplish these objectives, hindcast wave and wind data obtained with numerical models are used alongside observations from meteorological stations. We identify two areas as having great potential for offshore wind farms; one of them is also very promising for a combined wave–wind farm (or a wave farm on its own). We characterise in detail the wind resource in both areas, and the wave resource in the latter: the wind resource, in terms of directions and velocities; and the wave resource, in terms of directions, significant wave heights and energy periods. In the case of the wind resource, most of the energy corresponds to NNE and NE winds with velocities between 8 and 14 m s− 1, which should be taken into account when selecting the offshore wind turbines. As for the wave resource, we find that most of the annual wave energy is provided by N and NNW waves with significant wave heights between 1.5 m and 3.0 m and energy periods between 10.5 s and 13.5 s. It follows that the Wave Energy Converters deployed in the area should have maximum efficiency in those ranges. In sum, Fuerteventura has a substantial wave and offshore wind resource, which is assessed in this work; two areas for their exploitation are proposed, and the ranges of wave and wind conditions for which the wave energy converters and offshore wind turbines to be installed should have maximum efficiency are determined.