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Monetising MetOcean Data – An Open Data Project

Monetising your MetOcean Data

First of all, what does that even mean? What we are trying to do is create an equitable platform to compare renewable technologies and projects against one another to see which one in financial terms provides the best return on investment.

Since our ODINE project is all about MetOcean data, we are going to look at Offshore Wind, Wave and Tidal Energy. We are going to use open resource data from across Europe. The datasets used are referenced and linked at the end of the blog post.

The second thing that we are going to have to define are the metrics which we will use. Our comparators are going to be Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE), Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Net Present Value (NPV) and Capacity Factor. We will also look at Return on Investment and other financial indicators.

The problem with all these indicators, is that everyone does the calculation a different way, even though the equations are the same. What we have done is to create a piece of software that allows you to do this on an equitable basis and build the most complex models possible. However, we have also produced a LITE version of the software which locks down a lot of the parameters to give a very high level view. The LITE version will be available in February and all the definitions will be given in our FAQs.

The process Flow

In any renewables model, the process flow is much the same. You must chose a resource, match a technology to it, input costs, define revenues and other financials before you get to an answer. Then you can optimise the answer and try what-if scenarios. In our case, we are going to start with Open Resource Data, use some generic technology types, input some industry standard costs and use the revenue data for one EU domain.

For today’s article, we will use Ireland’s wave resource as an example and use some recent industry costings as reference.

The Starting Point.

If we look at the recent publications from both SI Ocean and MRIA, they show that currently wave energy has a high LCOE ranging between €320/MWh and €620/MWh. However, they also show the likely deployment and learning scenario which brings it down to below €200 within 1GW of deployment.

If you compare this with the state of play of Offshore wind, Mott Macdonald show that first of a kind (FOAK) round 3 UK wind is at £190/MWh or over €220 with todays exchange rate.

SOURCE: Ocean Energy: Cost of Energy and Cost Reduction Opportunities – SI Ocean and Funding the Development of the Ocean Energy Industry in Ireland –

Source : Mott Macdonald UK Electricity Generation Costs Update 2010.

Our next Industry reference is to use the recently published Ocean Energy Forum Strategic Roadmap. They give a case study of a large scale wave energy project that is intended to produce 3MW. The metric that we will use is the CAPEX figure per MW as well as the equity and grant rates.

Source: Ocean Energy Forum – Ocean Energy Strategic Roadmap

Setting Up.

To start, we select an open resource in Ireland at the MK3 Westwave buoy. This is good time series buoy data although it is only available for one season. As we don’t have access to any developer power matrices, we will use a modelled device published by Ecole Central de Nantes. It is a generic two body heaving device, mechanically coupled.


Lets make the following model assumptions so we can get going. The notes show why we have selected them but what is far more important is being consistent.

Component Rate Note
Curtailment none Strategic project
Constraint none Assume local grid good
Transmission 99% (1% loss) HV Connection
Availability 95% Reasonable target
Discount Rate 8% Recommended by WES
Array Loss none No detail available
Inflation 0% This should be indexed but left as zero for now in order to simplify model
Debt Equity 100% or Grant 100% Equity for simplicity
Loan term 20 Years Typical
Bulk Discount 0 There will be savings over 3 units so this should be included future models but is not considered here
Salvage and Decommissioning Not set No detail for this. Assume salvage = decommissioning
REFIT 260 MWh Possible in Ireland
Tax none Not enough detail to allow this module to be used.

Inputting this into ExceedenceFinance software gives the project dashboard.

Our first model, used as a “standard” takes the Westwave Data, a generic device along with the costs shown in the Ocean Energy Forum. This gives an LCOE of €439/MWh, which coincidently is right in the middle of the SI Ocean estimate for todays technology. BUT, lets look into the future. If we use one of Exceedence’s features, we can do a goal seek. Lets set the LCOE at €220, remove the €17m grant and see how the project must perform.

The results show that if we can reduce CAPEX by 50% then we can meet out LCOE target. This very simplistic but you get the idea. So lets set this as our NEW project benchmark for Ireland and see how each site performs. We will have a CAPEX of €4.1m/MW and a 2% OPEX and all the other assumptions will remain the same.

We will run the same example for 3 different sites. Westwave, M3 Buoy and Belmullet Berth A.

The Results

Here we have a summary table for the monetised metocean data at each of the sites using the same techno-financial performance, all calibrated against recent industry publications.

Site Year Resource kW/m Capacity Factor Total CAPEX OPEX




















M3 Buoy









Belmullet A









The following figures show some graphical outputs from the software in terms of IRR, NPV and LCOE. We can see that even without grant funding, all of the sites all performing well in terms of capacity factor and financial indicators. On the face of it, they are

all financially viable projects, some better than others. Of course, this is simplistic and not the whole story but you get the idea.


What can we conclude? Well it certainly looks like putting your project somewhere with a better resource gives a better performance. Wait though. We can see that the technology was already well matched to the resource in Westwave. Even though the energy increased by 50% in Belmullet, the performance didn’t. It did improve but not by that much. In the real world we would do more detailed sensitivity to understand the benefits and pitfalls of moving to high resource.

But what we have done is a like for like monetising of a MetOcean resource for Ireland. Given our assumptions, we can see that wave energy in Irish waters can make sense, can be competitive and can compete with offshore wind.

Resource Data

The following table lists the different resource data found during the ODINE proejct including links to the websites.

Energy Source



Open Source (Y/N)


Data Sets

Wind/Wave UK Environmental Agency

This Data set is OPEN DATA provided by Gardline Environmental on behalf of the Environmental Agency and is available to download from the WaveNet website for use under Open Government Licence. Accessed through Cefas WaveNet interactive map


  • Blakeney Overfalls
  • Northwell
Wind/ Wave USA National Data Buoy Centre


This is open data through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations National Data Buoy Centre

  • Kanehoe Bay Test site in Hawaii
Wind NL Nordzee wind


This Data set is OPEN DATA from the Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (NSW-MEP) from the Egmund aan Zee Offshore Wind Farm. Accessed through

  • Nordzee Met Mast
Wave IE Marine Institute


This Data set is OPEN DATA from The Marine Institure of Ireland under the creative commons license. Accessed through Ireland’s Marine Atlas at Data set taken from RAW Te and HS values. Interpolation for missing data points.

  • Belmullet A
  • Belmullet B
  • Galway Bay
  • Westwave MK3
  • M3 Buoy
Wind UK Crown Estate through Marine Data Exchange

  • Gwynt Y Mor Met Mast
Tidal IE Exceedence

Awaiting response from UCC

This Data set is OPEN DATA from UCC MAREI Current Prediction at Arklow Bank site. Licensed by Exceedence and made openly available.

  • Arklow South
Wind IE Marine Institute


This Data set is OPEN DATA from The Marine Institure of Ireland under the creative commons license. Accessed through Ireland’s Marine Atlas at

  • M2 and M3 Buoy