Clean, renewable energy is one of world’s top priorities. Not only can renewables reduce our dependence on carbon-based energy resources, they also help to insure our energy security and strengthen local economies.
Wave energy in particular is a highly desirable resource. Its practical worldwide potential is projected to be between 2 and 4 trillion kilowatt hours per year. The World Energy Council estimates that about 10% of worldwide electricity demand could be met by harvesting ocean energy, and the US Department of Energy has reported that the U.S. available wave energy resource has the potential to power over 100 million homes each year.
Offshore wave energy farms offer one of the best, new opportunities for clean, abundant, environmentally benign, and reliable utility-scale energy generation. Some of the attractive aspects of wave energy include:
The supply of electricity from wave energy can be accurately forecast several days in advance. This allows utilities advance notice for sourcing plans to meet their short-term electricity scheduling needs.
Ocean waves are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. An average coastline has around 4,000,000 waves a year coming ashore; all day and all night.
US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY – MARINE HYDROKINETICS 101
Wave energy is produced close to coastal populations — 50% of the world’s population lives near an ocean — and does not require significant additional build out of transmission.
While wave energy is variable and seasonal, it is greatest in the winter months, especially in the temperate zones, when electrical demand also is highest.
Solar photovoltaics (PV) typically generate power on the order of a hundred watts per square meter and wind one thousand watts per square meter of swept area, but wave energy is typically in the range of several tens of thousands of watts per meter of wave front. This allows wave energy plants to produce power using smaller footprints.