Posner, A.J., O' Sullivan, K., Murphy, J., 2013. Economic and Environmental Impact Appraisal of Commercial Scale Offshore Renewable Energy Installations on the west coast of Ireland
This study investigates the feasibility of installing a 250MW commercial scale marine energy park (wind and wave energy), both in terms of economics and environmental impacts, off the Belmullet coastline in Co. Mayo, Ireland. This site corresponds to the Atlantic Marine Energy Test Site (AMETS) where an environmental impact assessment has been carried out previously. A probabilistic economic model for the evaluation of wind and wave hybrid designs has been developed and is used in this study. This life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) uses discount rates suggested by industry and investigates the variation in the levelised cost of energy (LCoE) for various farm arrangements. A study using numerical wave modelling software has been undertaken to determine the modification to the wave field and thus the subsequent effects on sediment transport processes and shoreline evolution on the Mayo coast with the aim of optimising the arrangement of the marine energy park with respect to LCoE and environmental impacts. This methodology is a significant advancement in studies of the optimisation of wave farm arrangements. The methodology firstly consists of a capital expenditure model for pricing the farm infrastructure, secondly, a hydrodynamic analysis of the offshore wave conditions incident on the farm of devices is performed and the wave height incident on each device is passed as an input to the energy yield model, which is coupled with an operations and maintenance model. A financial calculator, which employs discounted cash-flow techniques, is employed to calculate the LCoE. This study demonstrates that there is an optimum arrangement for a renewable energy farm of wave energy converters (WEC), and that the addition of wind turbines can significantly alter this optimum arrangement.