The present and future ofshore wind resource in the Southwestern African region

Lima DCA, Soares PMM, Cardoso RM, Semedo A, Cabos W, Sein DV
Climate Dyn. 56(5-6), 1371-1388. DOI: 10.1007/s00382-020-05536-4

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In the last decades, offshore wind harvesting has increased enormously, and is seen as a renewable energy resource with great potential in many regions of the world. Therefore, it is crucial to understand how this resource will evolve in a warming climate. In the present study, offshore wind resource in the Southwestern African region is analysed for the present and future climates. A ROM (REMO-OASIS-MPIOM) climate simulation in uncoupled and coupled atmosphere–ocean mode, at 25 km horizontal resolution, and a multi-model ensemble built with a set of regional climate models from the CORDEX-Africa experiment at 0.44° resolution were used. The projected changes of the offshore wind energy density throughout the twenty-first century are examined following the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. Characterised by strong coastal-parallel winds, the Southwestern African offshore region shows high values of wind energy density at 100 m, up to 1500 Wm?2 near the coast, particularly offshore Namibia and west South Africa. Conversely, along Angola’s coast the available offshore wind energy density is lower. Throughout the twenty-first century, for the weaker climate mitigation scenario (RCP8.5), an increase of the offshore wind resource is projected to occur along Namibia and South African western coasts, more pronounced at the end of the century (+?24%), while a decrease is projected along Angola’s coasts, reaching a negative anomaly of about ? 32%. Smaller changes but with the same pattern are projected for the stronger climate mitigation scenario (RCP4.5). The future deployment of offshore floating hub turbines placed at higher heights may allow higher production of energy in this region. Along offshore Namibia and west South Africa, the wind energy density at 250 m showed differences that range between 30 and 50% relative to wind energy density at 100 m.