Effects of projected wave climate changes on the sizing and performance of OWCs: a focus on the Mediterranean and Atlantic European coastal waters


  • Irene Simonetti University of Florence
  • Lorenzo Cappietti Università degli Studi di Firenze




oscillating water column, climate change, wave climate trends, device optimization, levelized cost of energy, annual energy production


Reliable estimations of the Annual Energy Production (AEP) achievable with a certain Wave Energy Converter (WEC) are among the fundamental elements for a sound evaluation of the related Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) that plays a crucial role in the investment decision-making process. The lack of reliability in estimates of the device productivity can be a result of the uncertainty in the assessment of the available wave energy resource since the geometry of the device which maximizes the AEP is dependent on the specific wave climate at the foreseen installation site.

The Climate Data Store of the Copernicus Climate Change Service delivers projections of the wave climate along the 20 m bathymetric contours of the whole European coastlines, covering the period 2040-2100, under two Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) [1].

This work addresses the effect of such long-term wave climate changes on the optimal sizing and performances of Oscillating Water Column (OWC) WECs to be installed along the Atlantic European coastline, expanding a previously published work in which the Mediterranean coastline was investigated [2]. The capture width of the OWC WEC under different wave conditions is computed using an empirical model [3] capable of predicting the device performance with acceptable accuracy and limited computational time.

The results show that the optimal geometry of the OWC WEC varies significantly in the different geographical locations, and that the long-term changes in the wave energy resource could cause a slight modification of the optimal geometry in each potential installation site. The AEP of the OWC WEC in the projected wave climate scenario can be significantly different compared to the present one, potentially contributing to reducing the LCOE of this wave energy conversion technology in some geographical locations.


[1] Caires, S., Yan, K., 2022. Ocean surface wave time series for the European coast from 1976 to 2100 derived from climate projections. (Accessed on Feb. 2022) DOI: 10.24381/cds.572bf382. Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) Climate Data Store (CDS)

[2] Simonetti, I., Cappietti, L., 2023, Mediterranean coastal wave-climate long-term trend in climate change scenarios and effects on the optimal sizing of OWC wave energy converters, Coastal Engineering, 173, 104247.

[3] Simonetti, I., Cappietti, L., Oumeraci, H., 2018. An empirical model as a supporting tool to optimize the main design parameters of a stationary oscillating water column wave energy converter. Appl. Energy 231, 1205–1215.

Author Biography

Lorenzo Cappietti, Università degli Studi di Firenze

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Associate Professor 



How to Cite

I. Simonetti and L. Cappietti, “Effects of projected wave climate changes on the sizing and performance of OWCs: a focus on the Mediterranean and Atlantic European coastal waters”, Proc. EWTEC, vol. 15, Sep. 2023.

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