Wave energy is a clean, renewable source of energy, caused by wind blowing over the surface of the ocean. Wind is created by the sun's solar energy. Waves gather, store, and transmit this energy thousands of miles with little loss. As long as the sun shines, wave energy will never be depleted. It varies in intensity, but it is available twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. The total power of waves breaking around the world’s coastlines is estimated at 2-3 million megawatts. The west coast of the U.S. and Europe and the coasts of Japan and New Zealand are good sites for harnessing wave energy. Other forms of wave energy have slightly different names and technologies to harness their power: wave power, tidal power and tidal energy.
Because waves originate from storms far out to sea and can travel long distances without significant energy loss, power produced from them is much steadier and more predictable, both day-to-day and season-to-season.
Wave energy contains roughly 1000 times the kinetic energy of wind, allowing much smaller and less conspicuous devices to produce the same amount of power in a fraction of the space.
Unlike wind and solar power, power from ocean waves continues to be produced around the clock, wind velocity tends to die in the morning and at night, and solar is only available during the day in areas with relatively little cloud cover.
Because wave energy needs only 1/200 the land area of wind and requires no access roads, infrastructure costs are less.
Wave energy devices are quieter and much less visually obtrusive than wind devices, which typically run 130-200 feet in height and usually require remote siting with attendant high transmission costs. In contrast, 30-foot high wave energy devices can be integrated into breakwaters in busy port areas, producing power exactly where it is needed.
Tags: Wave energy, how does wave energy work, ocean and wave energy, wave and tidal energy, wave energy technologies