Saturday, December 1, 2012

Wave Power

Ocean waves represent a considerable renewable energy resource. Waves are generated by the wind as it blows across the ocean surface. They travel great distances without significant losses and so act as an efficient energy transport mechanism. Waves generated by a storm in mid-Atlantic will travel all the way to the coast of Europe without significant loss of energy.

All of the energy is concentrated near the water surface. This makes wave power a highly concentrated energy source with much smaller hourly and day-to-day variations than other renewable resources such as wind or solar. Conveniently, the seasonal variation of wave power closely follows the trend for electricity consumption in Western Europe.

The western seaboard of Europe offers an enormous number of potential sites. The most promising sites are off the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal and Norway. There is sufficient energy breaking on the UK shoreline to power the country three times over.  However, it is not practical to recover all of this energy. The economically recoverable resource for the UK alone has been estimated to be 87TWh per year, or about 25% of current UK demand.

See for more details about wave power.

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