Wave farm impact on the beach profile: A case study
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If wave energy is to become a fully-fledged renewable, its environmental impacts must be fully understood. The objective of the present work is to examine the impact of a wave farm on the beach profile through a case study. The methodology is based on two coupled numerical models: a nearshore wave propagation model and a morphodynamic model, which are run in two scenarios, both with and without the wave farm. Wave data from a nearby coastal buoy are used to prescribe the boundary conditions. A positive effect on the wave climate, the cross-shore sediment transport and, consequently, the evolution of the beach profile itself due to the presence of the wave farm was found. The wave farm leads to a reduction in the erosion of the beach face. This work constitutes the first stage of the investigation of the effectiveness of a wave farm as a coastal defence measure, and the accuracy of the quantification of the erosion reduction will be enhanced in future research. In any case, the overarching picture that emerges is that wave farms, in addition to providing carbon-free energy, can be used as elements of a coastal defence scheme.
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