Wave Hub Impacts on Seabed & Shoreline Processes (WHISSP)

The project will address the impact on the sea bed and shoreline of devices deployed in the Wave Hub project.

The Wave Hub will be installed 10 miles offshore of St Ives, north Cornwall, to provide the electrical infrastructure necessary to support and encourage developers of wave energy conversion (WEC) devices to generate electricity from wave energy. It will allow developers to test arrays of devices over several years to prove the technologies will operate effectively in realistic offshore marie conditions and that they will produce the expected amounts of power.

One of the key areas for concern regarding Wave Hub is an estimated 3–6% wave height attenuation in the lee of the hub, so a particular focus of WHISSP will be on those popular recreational beaches in the hub's shadow at Perranporth and St. Agnes. Additional concerns relate to changes in tidal currents and wave energy and the associated impact on sedimentation, beach topography and beach state.

Artists impression of Wave Hub (Industrial Art Studio Ltd)

Objectives

The project has six objectives, which are detailed in the work packages and summarised below: :

1. to use all existing data to define the natural variability of coastal geomorphology;
2. to quantify coastal bathymetry, beach topography and sea bed sediments prior to Wave Hub installation;
3. to measure any significant wave attenuation attributable to Wave Hub;
4. to monitor changes in sedimentation in the lee of Wave Hub from the installation to the beaches;
5. to monitor changes in coastal bathymetry, beach topography and beach state at key sites throughout the Wave Hub commissioning and operational phases; and
6. to quantify the impact of Wave Hub on surfing and general recreational use of the beach, including implications to beach safety.

Based on practical experience from these activities, the project will develop appropriate generic environmental monitoring protocols and numerical modelling methodologies for the assessment of future renewable energy systems at sites worldwide.

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