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Energy xxx (2014) 1e13

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Energy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/energy

Wave energy potential along the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia


Ali Mirzaei, Fredolin Tangang*, Liew Juneng
School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 Bangi, Selangor,
Malaysia

a r t i c l e i n f o

a b s t r a c t

Article history:
Received 31 October 2013
Received in revised form
31 January 2014
Accepted 1 February 2014
Available online xxx

The wave power potential along the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia was investigated using the 31-year
(1979e2009) output simulation of the NOAA WAVEWATCH III. The result shows strong seasonal
uctuation in which the wave power during winter monsoon is much higher than other seasons.
Additionally, the wave power also uctuates inter-annually due to the El Nio-Southern Oscillation
(ENSO). It was revealed that wave power along the northern section of the coast is more energetic than
the southern region, with mean annual of 4 and 2.5 kW/m, respectively. The signicant difference between the two regions is due to the sheltering effects of the multiple islands. The 5% exceedance values,
which represent the highest wave power, range from 8 to 15 kW/m and 1.5 to 4.2 kW/m for the northern
and southern sections of the coast, respectively. It was also found that the bulk of the wave energy ux is
generated by waves with signicant wave height between 1 to 3 m and mean wave energy periods
between 6 to 9 s. Generally, with efcient wave energy converters, the renewable wave energy can be
viable to be harvested, particularly in the northern region during winter monsoon period.
2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords:
Wave power
Peninsular Malaysia
WAVEWATCH III
Sheltering effect

1. Introduction
In nature, there are different kinds of renewable resources that
potentially can be used for the production of clean energy. As the
sun heats the earth, winds are generated to transfer energy to the
ocean surface in the form of wind-waves. Waves transmit this
stored energy thousands of kilometers without signicant loss and
hence wave energy becomes one of the most important renewable
energy resources with low emission. In a maritime country with
long coastlines, wave energy can potentially be harvested to meet
the energy demands and reduce dependency on fossil fuel. However, harvesting of wave energy requires a survey, research, and
developmental aspect to determine its viability [1].
As the wave travels from offshore toward the coast, its cumulative energy is reduced due to bottom topography friction [2].
Nearshore, wave power is inuenced by several factors including
coastal refraction (and diffraction), wave breaking, and sea bottom
roughness [3]. However, there may be locations both nearshore and
offshore that can be considered as a potential site for a wave farm;
that is, the installation of wave energy convertors (WECs). Additionally, in some regions, wave power uctuates seasonally as
winds are stronger in a particular season compared to others. On

* Corresponding author. Tel.: 60 192718986.


E-mail addresses: tangang@ukm.my, ftangang@gmail.com (F. Tangang).

the long-term time scale, regional climatic condition is also inuenced by rising carbon emissions [4] and hence may affect the
harvested wave energy [5,6].
The global distribution of wave energy indicates that there are
many countries that have a coastal wave climate favorable for the
exploitation of this energy [3]. However, assessment on the
viability of wave energy requires long-term measurements of
waves, which can be very expensive and time consuming. Wave
modeling is likely the rst tool to investigate the potential of wave
energy. In Malaysia, the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia in
particular, due to its direct exposure to the South China Sea, can
potentially be the source of harvestable wave energy. The east coast
of Peninsular Malaysia forms the western boundary of the southern
South China Sea (SCS), where incident waves can travel from far
north into this area. With a strong northeast monsoon generating
high waves, wave energy in this region may have the potential to be
harvested. However, there has yet to be a study of the feasibility for
the potential of wave energy in this region.
The most energetic waves on the earth are generated between
the latitudes of 30 to 60 . However, attractive wave climate can be
also found within 30 of the equator where the trade winds blow
[3]. Arinaga and Cheung [7] provided an atlas of global wave energy
using 10 years of reanalysis and hindcast data. According their
study, the monthly median wave power from wind waves above
30 N ranges from 17 to 130 kW/m while the power below 30 S is
steadier throughout the year with a range of 50e100 kW/m. For a

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2014.02.005
0360-5442/ 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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A. Mirzaei et al. / Energy xxx (2014) 1e13

particular location, a thorough study of feasibility is needed to


determine the potential amount of energy that can be harvested.
In recent decades, the wave energy potential assessment
beneted from the rapid development and optimization of third
generation spectral wave models. With the availability of measured
in situ and altimeter data, these models can be calibrated and
validated. Using wave models, researchers can estimate the amount
of energy being produced by the waves in different regions of the
world. However, most of the studies have been carried out along
European and North American coasts, although similar investigations have also been conducted in some parts of Asia and
Australia. For instance, a number of studies have investigated the
potential of the wave power in different regions of Spain [8e12]. On
the other hand, temporal trends as well as the spatial distribution of
wave characteristics (signicant wave height, wave period, and
wave power) have been analyzed along the Atlantic coast of the
southern United States [13] and Hawaiian Island chain [14]. In the
Asia region, Ching-Piao et al. [15] used SWAN (Simulating WAves
Nearshore) model to investigate wave climate in Taiwan, in which
researchers found higher wave energy during the winter than the
summer monsoon. Moreover, an assessment on wave energy
around the Korea Peninsula showed a sensitivity of wave energy

resources to seasonality and regional features [16]. A numerical


wave model has also been used to carry out a nationally consistent
wave resource assessment for the Australian shelf [17].
In this study, we used NOAA WAVEATCH III to simulate wave
characteristics in southern region of the South China Sea to
examine the potential of the waves approaching the east coast of
Peninsular Malaysia for producing a source of power. The rest of the
paper is organized as follows: Section 2 provides a description of
the model and data. Results and discussion are given in Section 3,
which is followed by a conclusion in Section 4.
2. Methods and data
2.1. Wave model description
The NOAA WAVEATCH III (NWW3) is a third generation numerical wave model, widely used for the simulation of wave
characteristics in different sea states. The development of this
model started in 1993 and it has been comprehensively used and
validated in many parts of the globe and in many sea conditions.
The NWW3 is based on the spectral action density equation that
allows the model to incorporate large-scalewave-current

Fig. 1. The map providing the locations of selected sites along the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia with bathymetry in the region. The lower mapplaces the region of interest in the
context of a much wider region of the South China Sea. M1, M2 and M3 represent the three nested domains.

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interactions [18]. The model solves the linear balance equation for
spectral wave action density A in terms of wavenumber k and
wave direction q, as a slowly varying function of space x and
time t,

DAk; q; x; t
Sk; q; x; t
Dt

(1)

where S is the wave spectrum. The action density spectrum A is


related to the energy spectrum F as,

A F=s

(2)

and therefore,

S F=s

(3)

where s is the intrinsic wave frequency which is related to the wave


number as,

s2 gktanhkd;

(4)

where d is the mean water depth [18]. On the other hand, the
relative frequency is related to the absolute frequency u through
the Doppler equation:

u s k$U;

(5)

where U is the mean current velocity vector. However, parameter U


can be ignored if there is no current (U 0) and in this case u s.
Only two-phase parameters are independent among each other
(s,k, q).
2.2. Model setup
The assessment of wave energy along the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia is based on the wave simulation in Ref. [22]. A multigrid NWW3 model, which is a mosaic of grids with a two-way

exchange of information, was implemented in the southern region of the SCS to simulate wave climate for a period of 31-year
(1979e2009). Three nested domains (with resolutions of
M1 0.333 , M2 0.25 , and M3 0.15 ) were applied to better
resolve the underlying bathymetry and swells entering the southern region of the SCS [22]. Additionally, these three computational
grids were embedded with obstacle grids to represent islands as
described by Ref. [19]. The model was setup using ETOPO2 [20]
bathymetry at 2-minute resolution and forced by the Climate
Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) wind data with a resolution of
w38 km (T382) [21]. The effect of currents and sea ice were
excluded in the computation. Details of the model setup can be
found in Ref. [22]. Fig. 1 shows the location of selected sites along
the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia where the wave energy was
assessed.

2.3. Data and validation


The simulated outputs were validated against available 3-month
ADCP data, which was recorded in nearshore Terengganu (102.92 E
and 5.5 N) from January to March 2009. The time series of observed
and simulated values of signicant wave height (Hs) and mean
wave period (Tm) were compared and shown in Fig. 2. Moreover,
Fig. 3 illustrates a wave rose of simulated and observed mean wave
direction. Validation shows an acceptable agreement between the
NWW3 output and observation. However, the model slightly
underestimated the Hs and Tm. The model performed relatively
better in simulating Hs than Tm as indicated by the correlation coefcients and RMSE values (Fig. 2). For the observed waves, the
direction was rather broad, ranging from southeast to northeast
(Fig. 3b) with waves of higher Hs dominantly impacting from the
east direction. During this period, the wind direction is mostly
northeasterly and is associated with the winter monsoon. The underestimation of Hs and Tm as well as broader range in the observed
wave direction could be a result of various factors. These include
the inuences of local winds, wave-current interaction, bathymetry

Fig. 2. The time series comparisons of ADCP and simulated Hs and Tm.

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Fig. 3. The wave roses of mean wave direction (a) simulated and (b) ADCP.

complexity in the very shallow area, and the wave scattering effect
of the islands. These effects are either not considered or not wellresolved in the model and therefore, the biases exist in Hs and Tm
while the range of direction of simulated waves is rather narrow
and mainly east-northeasterly, consistent with the large-scale wind
direction (Fig. 3b). More details about the model validation in
southern SCS can be found in Ref. [22].

wave spectrum [23]. The value of a was set to 0.9 following Godas
[24] approximation for the JONSWAP spectrum. Moreover, the
energy propagation in traveling waves depends on the group velocity CG since the energy transport velocity equals the group velocity. Hence, the wave energy ux (Ef), through a vertical plane of
unit width perpendicular to the wave propagation direction [25] is
equal to:

Ef ECG

(10)

2.4. Wave energy


To determine wave energy potential along the east coast of
Peninsular Malaysia, simulation outputs of a sub-domain
(100.25 Ee107 E and 1 Ne10 N) within the third domain M3
(98 Ee122 E and 2 Se18 N) were considered (Fig. 1). Wave energy
is a function of signicant wave height (Hs) and wave energy period
(Te), in which each value is independent of the direction of wave
propagation. In the model computation, the signicant wave height
is dened when using a spectral approach [18] as,
1

Hs 4m0 2

where E is the wave energy and CG is the group velocity, which is


described as a function of wave frequency f and water depth d:

(6)

where mn represents the spectral moment of order n,

Z2p ZN
mn
0

f n Sf ; qdf dq

(7)

where f is the wave frequency, q is wave direction and S(f,q) is the


spectral density.
The energy period is also dened as,

Te

m1
m0

(8)

where m1 and m0 are minus the rst moment and the zeroth
moment (the variance) of the wave spectrum, respectively. The Te
was dened using the peak wave period Tp since the NWW3 model
does not compute this parameter directly. The relationship between Tp and Te depends on the shape of the wave spectrum and
can be expressed as,

Te aTp

(9)

where the coefcient a depends on the shape of the wave


spectrum and can be calculated by the numerical integration of the

Fig. 4. The annual mean spatial distribution of wave energy during the 31-year
simulation period.

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Fig. 5. The seasonal mean spatial distribution of wave energy ux during the 31-year simulation period.

g
CG f ; d
4pf

2kd
1
sinh2kdtanhkd


(11)

and k 2p/L is the wave number and L is the wave length. In deep
water conditions, (d > 0.5L) the group velocity is dened as,

CG g=4pf

(12)

For a sinusoidal wave of height Hs, the average energy stored on a


horizontal square meter of the water surface is:

E rg

ZN
Sf df
0

1
rgHs2
16

(13)

Half of this is potential energy due to the weight of the water


lifted from the wave troughs to the wave crest. The remaining half is
kinetic energy residing in the motion of the water. Therefore Eq.
(10) can be rewritten as,

Ef

rg2 2
H Te z0:49Hs2 Te kW=m
64p s

(14)

where r and g are seawater mass density (1025 kg/m2) and


gravity acceleration (9.8 m/s2), respectively. The above formula
states the wave power is proportional to the wave period and to
the square of the wave height. Moreover, when a signicant wave
height is given in meters and the wave period in seconds, the
result is power in kilowatts (kW) per meter of the wave front
length. In deep water, the group velocity equals half of the phase
velocity and hence it is independent of water depth (Eq. (12)).

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Table 1
The coordinates of the selected sites including their positions with respect to the
nearby island.
Site names

Location

P1
P2
P3
P4
P5
P6
P7
P8
P9

103.10
103.30
103.72
103.55
103.50
103.60
104.25
104.00
104.20

Ee5.80
Ee5.23
Ee4.85
Ee4.50
Ee3.80
Ee2.80
Ee2.80
Ee2.50
Ee2.00

N
N
N
N
N
N
N
N
N

Depth (m)

Position

51
17
31
27
17
8
24
9
16

In front of Island
e
e
e
e
Sheltered
In front of Island
Sheltered
Sheltered

However, as the waves propagate toward the coastal shallow


waters, group velocity changes according to the water depth and
wave length to the point where it becomes equal to phase speed
in a given region where d < 0.05 L. In this instance, Eq. (14) requires adjustment to take into account the energy uctuations
due to bathymetric changes. Following [26] the adjusted wave
power is given as,

Ef* bEf

(15)

where b is the proposed correction factor based on the crosscorrelation between the energy period (Te) and signicant wave
height (Hs):

Fig. 6. The wave power roses for each of the selected site based on the 31-year model simulation.

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Fig. 7. The annual mean wave energy ux for each selected site during the 31-year simulation period.

b 1



COV Te ; Hs2
2
T e $Hs

(16)

Due to many uncertainties in computing the correction factors, a


much smaller value of the second term on the right hand side may
indicate how applying the correction factor is at times unnecessary.
On the other hand, large values imply an underestimation of wave
energy ux.

3. Results and discussion


3.1. Spatial distribution of wave energy
The east coast of Peninsular Malaysia is directly exposed to the
SCS and it can be greatly affected by waves generated from regions
far away (e.g. northern and central SCS). However, the existence of
multiple islands and the bathymetric steepness in Sunda shelf may
obstruct, refract, and reduce the wave heights and consequently
affect wave energy. Fig. 4 depicts the annual average of wave energy
in the entire sub-domain calculated using Eq. (14). Consistent with
the distribution of Hs described in Ref. [22], wave energy distribution shows decreasing magnitude towards the east coast of
Peninsular Malaysia due to increasing the bottom friction over the
Sunda shelf. The amount of energy in the coastal areas is about a
quarter of those in the eastern open boundary of the domain. In
addition to the bathymetric effect, wave energy is also inuenced
by the blockage of multiple islands. The propagation of wave energy in the northeast corner of the domain is signicantly blocked
by the Can Doisland in the southern coast of Vietnam. Moreover, in
the southeastern corner of the domain, the existence of the
Anambas islands provides an effective obstruction of wave energy
from reaching the southern region of Peninsular Malaysia. In
addition, Tioman Island, located off the east coast of Peninsular
Malaysia, also plays a signicant role in reduction of wave energy.
The weather and climate over the region is modulated by the
Asian-Australian monsoon system, which features pronounced
northeast and southwest winds during winter (DJF) and summer
(JJA) seasons, respectively [27]. However, during the transitional
seasons of spring (MAM) and autumn (SON), inconsistent winds
prevail. These seasonal changes in the wind affect the seasonal
wave energy and thus also affect wave power distribution. Fig. 5
shows the spatial distribution of wave power during DJF, MAM,
JJA, and SON. Generally, the wave power distributions during SON
and DJF resemble to that of the mean wave energy shown in Fig. 4.
The highest magnitude of wave power occurs during DJF implying
the dominance of waves during the winter monsoon. During this
period, the magnitude of wave power exceeds 12 kW/m in the open
eastern boundary of the domain but toward the east coast of
Peninsular Malaysia the amplitude decreases to approximately

5 kW/m. The wave power during SON is lower due to the weaker
winds with magnitudes ranging between 1e3 kW/m along the
coast. During MAM, the magnitudes of wave power are much lower
due to much weaker winds condition. Nevertheless, the distribution still resembles those of DJF and SON. Along the coastal region,
the wave power becomes less than 0.5 kW/m. Moreover, the role of
islands is obvious in the reduction of wave power especially in the
southern region.
The distribution of wave power during JJA is remarkably
different, with higher values concentrating in eastern part of the
Gulf of Thailand. Moreover, the area with relatively higher wave
power of around 2 kW/m extends to southern region of the domain.
These patterns are mainly due to the southwest monsoon wind
conditions that generate strong local waves [22]. Along the east
coast of Peninsular Malaysia, these local waves could interact with
incoming swells from the northern and central regions of the SCS,
resulting in shorter wave periods and heights and therefore a
reduction of wave power. However, in the Gulf of Thailand, the
absence of incoming swells from the SCS, due to the shadowing
effects of the Indo-China Peninsula, results in less wave-wave
interaction. Such a lack of wave-wave interaction promotes wave
growth towards the eastern coast of Cambodia. In the region south
of the Anambas islands, the diffracted swells could interact with the
locally generated waves resulting in relatively lower wave power
(<2 kW/m) (Fig. 5).
3.2. Temporal distribution of wave power
The wave conditions along the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia
are inuenced by seasonal and inter-annual changes of the climate
[22]. Moreover, due to the existence of nearshore islands, wave
conditions are also dependent on site location along the coast. Nine
sites with different depths were selected to investigate the temporal distribution of wave power along the coastal area of Peninsular Malaysia (Fig. 1; Table 1). The annual wave roses were
constructed based on the 31-year simulated data for these sites

Table 2
The correction factor values used for wave energy ux calculation for each of the site.
Site
names

Annual

Winter
(DJF)

Spring
(MAM)

Summer (JJA)

Autumn
(SON)

P1
P2
P3
P4
P5
P6
P7
P8
P9

1.50
1.54
1.45
1.44
1.46
1.58
1.47
1.00
1.21

1.11
1.11
1.10
1.11
1.09
1.08
1.09
0.97
1.02

1.44
1.45
1.38
1.37
1.33
1.26
1.38
0.99
1.20

1.13
1.08
1.08
1.09
1.08
0.82
1.07
0.98
1.10

1.45
1.42
1.33
1.31
1.28
1.29
1.29
0.98
1.11

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Wave energy flux (kW/m)

18
(a) DJF

16
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
1978

1980

1982

1984

1986

1988

1990

1992

1994

1996

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

Year

Wave energy flux (kW/m)

7
(b) MAM

6
5
4
3
2
1
0
1978

1980

1982

1984

1986

1988

1990

1992

1994

1996 1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

Year

Wave energy flux (kW/m)

1.0
(c) JJA

0.5

0.0
1978

1980

1982

1984

1986

1988

1990

1992

1994
Year

1996

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

Wave energy flux (kW/m)

8
(d) SON

7
6
5
4
3
2
1
1978

1980

P1

1982

1984

P2

1986

1988

P3

1990

1992

P4

1994
Year
P5

1996

1998

P6

2000

2002

P7

2004

P8

2006

2008

2010

P9

Fig. 8. As in Fig. 7, except for seasonal mean wave energy ux.

(Fig. 6). As indicated, the incident waves are dominantly eastnortheasterly with northern (southern) sites exhibit higher
(lower) intensity of wave power. Most sites in the southern region
are sheltered by multiple islands except P7.
Fig. 7 shows the time series of annual means of wave power in
the 31-year period from 1979 to 2009 for these sites, calculated
according to Eq. (15). The wave power values were corrected
using Eq. (16) with correction coefcients listed in Table 2.
Generally, the annual mean of wave power decreases when going
southward, with P1 and P8 having the highest and the lowest
values, respectively. For the northern sites, the wave power

ranges between 4e6 kW/m. On the other hand, for the southern
sites the values do not exceed 2 kW/m, with the exception of P7.
The relatively large amount of wave energy in northern and
central parts of the coast is due to their open exposure to the SCS.
As a comparison, in an enclosed basin like the Black Sea, the
magnitude of wave power is much lower because of limited fetch
[28]. In southern part of Peninsular Malaysia, the shadowing effect of Tioman and Anambas islands signicantly reduces wave
energy. Nevertheless, the values also are dependent on whether
the location of the selected site is behind or in front of an island.
For example, P1 and P7 are located in front of Redang and Tioman

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Wave energy flux (kW/m)

10
8
6
4
2
0
Annual

Winter

P1

P2

P3

Spring
P4

Summer

P5

P6

P7

Autumn
P8

P9

Fig. 9. The averaged annual and seasonal means of wave energy ux in selected sites.

Fig. 10. The annual mean of wave energy ux 5% exceedance values for the selected sites based on the 31-year simulation period.

Wave energy flux (kW/m)

0.20
0.15
0.10
0.05
0.00
1978

1980

P1

1982

1984

P2

1986

1988

P3

1990

P4

1992

1994
Year
P5

1996

1998

P6

2000

2002

P7

2004

P8

2006

2008

2010

P9

Fig. 11. As in Fig. 10, except for the wave energy ux 90% exceedance values.

Fig. 12. The averaged annual and seasonal means of the wave energy ux 5% exceedance values for the selected sites based on the 31-year simulation period.

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10

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Wave energy flux (kW/m)

1.5

1.0

0.5

0.0
P1

P2

P3

P4

P5

P6

P7

P8

P9

Year
Mean annual

Winter

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Fig. 13. As in Fig. 12, except for the wave energy ux 90% exceedance values.

islands, respectively; hence they have relatively large wave


power.
The wave power along the coast also shows inter-annual
variability. Generally, the inter-annual signal is stronger in the
northern and central parts of the coast due to their open exposure to the SCS. Sites in the southern region, especially P8, show
lesser or insignicant variability. Mirzaei et al. [22] showed the
inuence of both conventional ENSO and ENSO Modoki on the Hs,
particularly in the open sea region of the SCS. Hence, the large
inter-annual variabilities in the northern and central parts of the
coast are basically remote inuences originating from the open
region of the SCS.
Fig. 8 depicts the time series of seasonal mean wave power for
the selected sites. Generally, wave power is higher during the DJF
season due to strong weather condition during this period [22]. The
wave power appears to be minimal during the JJA. Hence, the
annual mean is mainly contributed by the DJF (Fig. 9). The seasonality of the wave power is more evident for the northern and
central parts of the coast.
Additionally, the wave power also shows inter-annual variability
that has pronounced seasonality. The annual wave power indicates
higher peak value during 1984 (Fig. 7) coinciding with the 1984/85
La Nia [29]. However, as shown in Fig. 8, it mainly beneted from
the higher peak of wave power during December 1984 and
JanuaryeFebruary 1985. Such a peak is clearly absent during the
1984 JJA and SON seasons. The seasonal behavior of wave power
during a La Nia event can be explained by how the event affects
wave conditions in the SCS. During a La Nia event, the Nio3.4
index is negatively (positively) correlated with Hs in DJF (JJA) [22].
Hence, one expects that the Hs (and wave power) is higher (lower)
in December 1984 and JanuaryeFebruary 1985 (JJA1984). In 1998,
lower mean annual wave power is depicted in Fig. 7, which coincided with the 1997/98 El Nio.
3.3. Wave power exceedance
Due to the extreme weather conditions that may occur in the
region, especially during winter monsoon [30], it is equally
important to examine the statistics of the wave power tail distribution in addition to the mean values described in previous
section. Figs. 10 and 11 represent the time series of the 5% and
90% exceedance values of wave power, respectively, for the
selected sites. The 5% exceedance represents the extreme values
that occupy the right-end tail of the wave power probability
distribution. Likewise, the 90% exceedance provides the lowest
values representing the left-end tail of the wave power distribution. The distribution of extreme wave power along the coast

is consistent with the annual mean (Fig. 10). The northern and
central parts of the coast exhibit higher 5% exceedance wave
power that ranges between 14e22 kW/m. In comparison, the
southern parts experience lower extreme values (e.g.
P8 < 2 kW/m). Generally, similar to the mean, the extreme
values are also modulated by inter-annual variability. On the
other hand, the 90% exceedances are much lower with values
not exceeding 0.2 kW/m (Fig. 11). Nevertheless, the inter-annual
variability is still strongly featured in the 90% exceedance
values.
Figs. 12 and 13 depict the seasonal variation of 5% and 90% exceedance values of the selected sites, respectively. Consistent with
seasonal means (Fig. 7), the extreme values of wave power are
higher during DJF compared with other seasons due to the extreme
weather conditions. In northern section of the coast, the extreme
values are higher ranging between 22e24 kW/m due to open
exposure to the SCS (Fig. 12). However, values gradually decrease
towards the south as the effect of island blockage becomes
important. The lowest extreme values of around 1e4 kW/m occur
in P8 due to the sheltering effect of Tioman Island. On the other
hand, as shown in Fig. 13, during the winter monsoon the 90%
exceedance values are relatively higher (i.e. 0.5e1.5 kW/m)
compared with other seasons.
3.4. Characterization of wave energy potential
The annual wave energy resources in selected study sites
were characterized according to the distribution of signicant
wave heights and energy periods over 31 years in the form of
a scatter diagram (Figs. 14 and 15). These scatter diagrams
provide a simultaneous visualization of the occurrence of
different sea states and corresponding wave energy. The
number inside the gure indicates the mean annual occurrences of sea states (number of hours per year), which were
tabulated into a bin of intervals of DHs 0.5 m and DTe 1 s.
Moreover, the color-shaded bins represent the annual energy
ux in kWh/(m  year). For each bin, this value is calculated
by multiplying the mean annual of occurrences with the corresponding wave power density (in kW/m) and 3, since the
simulated data is in 3 hourly. Meanwhile, the isolines in each
plot depict the corresponding wave power density. For sites
along the northern section of the coast, the bulk of the energy
ux is contributed by waves with a Hs between 1e3 m and Te
of 6e9 s (Fig. 14). Consistent with Fig. 7, the distribution of
energy ux in the selected sites decreases southward. The
level of energy ux for sites P6, P8 and P9 are much lower
due to the sheltering of multiple islands and shallow depths.

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11

Fig. 14. Scatter diagram of wave energy resource (based on the 31-year average) in terms of Hs and Te for sites along northern section of the coast. The color scale depicts annual
wave energy per meter per year, the numbers within the graph represent the occurrence of sea estate in term of number of hour per year, and isoclines refer to wave power.

The bulk of the energy ux for these sites is mainly characterized by waves of Hs between 1e2 m and Te of 7e9 s
(Fig. 15). However, for site P7, the energy ux is comparatively
higher since it is located in front of Tioman island and it is
exposed to a long fetch.

4. Conclusion
This study assesses the wave energy potential along the east
coast of Peninsular Malaysia based on the 31 years (1979e2009)
of simulation outputs for the 3rd generation NOAA WWIII

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12

A. Mirzaei et al. / Energy xxx (2014) 1e13

Fig. 15. As in Fig. 14 except for sites in the southern section of the coast.

model. The model performance was reasonable in simulating


wave characteristics during the validation period. It was also able
to reproduce the effect of the islands obstruction of waves. The
spatial distribution of simulated Hs indicated higher values along
the northern section of the coast, where waves generated from
the central and northern South China Sea can penetrate directly
due to a long fetch. Along the southern section of the coast, the
sheltering effect of multiple islands both scatters and obstructs
the incoming waves to result in a lower magnitude of Hs in this
section.
For a wave energy potential assessment along the coast, a total
of 9 sites were selected with variable depths and positions with
respect to nearby islands (Table 1). Due to the reduction of bathymetry in the Sunda Shelf region, it is expected that the calculation of wave energy potential based on deep water wave power
formulation will result in an underestimation of wave energy. As a
remedial measure, a correction factor based on the covariance of Hs
and Te was applied in calculating the wave energy potential for the
9 selected sites.
Generally, the wave energy ux is higher for sites located along
the northern section of the coast while in the southern part the
magnitudes are relatively lower. However, higher wave energy ux
for site P7 shows that the sites location with respect of the nearby
island is critical in determining the energy power. Moreover, the

wave energy ux exhibits strong seasonal uctuation with higher


(smaller) values during the winter (summer) monsoon. Additionally, signicant inter-annual variabilities are also featured in the
wave power time series. Overall, the annual average of wave power
for sites in the northern (southern) section of the coast ranges from
2.6 to 4.6 kW/m (0.5e1.5 kW/m). Interestingly, the bulk of the
energy ux is contributed by waves with Hs(Te) between 1e3 m (6e
9 s) and 1e2 m (7e9 s) for sites in northern and southern sections
of the coast, respectively.
In general, wave power along the east coast of Peninsular
Malaysia is lower than those regions located in open ocean with
deeper depths. However, with increasing wave energy converter
(WEC) efciency and advancing technologies in the foreseeable
future, it may still be viable to extract the wave renewable energy
from this region, especially during the winter monsoon. Nevertheless, the results of this study suggest that the site selection of a
wave energy farm is critical.
Acknowledgments
This research is funded by the grants of MOHE LRGS/TD/2011/
UKM/PG/01, MOSTI Science fund 04-01-02-SF0747 and the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia DIP-2012-020 and DPP-2013-080. The
authors are grateful to the Institute of Oceanography and

Please cite this article in press as: Mirzaei A, et al., Wave energy potential along the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Energy (2014), http://
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Environment, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu for providing the


ADCP data.
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Please cite this article in press as: Mirzaei A, et al., Wave energy potential along the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Energy (2014), http://
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