This page describes the available wave energy available in Rarotonga.

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Wave Energy in Rarotonga

The regional analysis of the cost of wave energy (See here) concluded that Rarotonga could be suitable to support a wave energy converter. But no location had been identified as a potential wave energy site. This page expands the regional wave energy analysis to the whole of Rarotonga to identify suitable wave energy conversion hotspots.

Mean Wave Power

Finding suitable wave energy sites

Bathymetry consideration

Rarotonga is one of the few countries in the Pacific where the bathymetry would allow the installation of any type of wave energy converters. Wave energy converters can be divided in these three categories: Offshorwe, Nearshore and onshore devices.

Benchmark device

Wave energy converters come with different cost and efficiency. The cost of operation and maintenance and on the environment can also vary greatly and it can be very hard to decide whether Rarotonga would benefit more from one type of device at a location or another device elsewhere. It is impossible to compare the cost and efficiency of all the wave energy converters because they are not all at the same stage of development. For example, some devices only have a theoretical efficiency while other more advance wave energy converters have a measured (i.e. verified) efficiency. In order to help with decision on what device would be more suitable for Rarotonga, we calculate the cost of energy generation of one wave energy converter, the Pelamis.

From the many wave energy devices developed globally, the Pelamis wave energy converter is one of only two to have reached commercial readiness. Although Pelamis Wave Power Ltd, the firm behind the device, went into administration at the time of writing this report, the milestones reached and the research behind the Pelamis device are unprecedented and unmatched by any other device. Because of the large amount of literature on the Pelamis, it is still a benchmark and, although it is unlikely that more Pelamis devices will ever be built (at least under the same name), the device’s physical characteristics and cost evaluation can be used to probe the economic feasibility of wave energy.

Pelamis costs

Cost Type Cost range
Operation and Maintenance US$ 1.72 - 8.48 million
Total US$ 6.32 - 14.10 million

Wave Power and energy cost for pre-selected sites

Site name Mean available wave power (kW/m) Annual Pelamis power output (MWh) OM cost range (USD/MWh) Total cost range (USD/MWh)
Rarotonga WB2 38.9 1126 44 - 242 224 - 501
Rarotonga WB1 37.5 1066 46 - 255 237 - 529
Titikaveka 47.7 1039 47 - 262 243 - 543
Rarotonga - Hotspot 50.0 1021 48 - 266 248 - 553
Papua passage 33.7 756 65 - 360 334 - 747
Avatiu 17.8 732 67 - 372 345 - 771
Rutaki passage 33.2 644 76 - 422 393 - 876
Avaavaroa passage 25.8 615 80 - 442 411 - 917
Penrhyn 13.3 528 93 - 515 479 - 1069
Tupapa 13.6 274 180 - 993 921 - 2056

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