Sustainability2017, 9(4), 613; doi:10.3390/su9040613 (registering DOI)
Department of Civil Engineering, Design, Building and Environment, Università deglistudidella Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, Via Roma 29, 81031 Aversa (Caserta), Italy
CONISMA—National Inter-University Consortium of Marine Sciences, Piazzale Flaminio 9, 00196 Roma, Italy
Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza 2, 20126 Milan, Italy
MaRHE Center (Marine Research and High Education Center), Magoodhoo Island, 20217 Faafu Atoll, Maldives
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza 1 and 4, 20126 Milan, Italy
Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Villa Comunale, 80121 Napoli, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 3 March 2017 / Revised: 27 March 2017 / Accepted: 11 April 2017 / Published: 14 April 2017
The Maldives are situated in the remote equatorial Indian Ocean, covering 900 km from north to south. The 26 coral atolls forming the archipelago are composed of sand and coral with a maximum height of about 2.30 m above the mean sea level. Periodic flooding from storm surges and the frequent freshwater scarcity are perceived by the population and the economic operators as the major environmental stresses. Moreover, the strong dependence on imported fossil fuels increases, even more, the environmental concerns. Diesel, in fact, still represents the main source of power generation, typically through privately managed small diesel sets. The real challenge for this area is to promote the environmental quality with socioeconomic growth. The present study aims to evaluate the strategic effectiveness to face these issues by wave and offshore wind energy. Resources using a 10-year hindcast dataset are here examined. The annual offshore wave power was found to range between 8.46 kW/m and 12.75 kW/m, while the 10 m and 100 m mean wind power density is respectively 0.08 kW/m2 and 0.16 kW/m2. Based on these results, an environmentally and socio-economically sustainable best-case scenario is constructed and two atoll islands (Malè and Magoodhoo) are specifically investigated. As a result, multifunctional structures and multi-use systems, which combine power generation, desalinization and coastal defence, are strongly recommended.
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