There’s enough wave energy in the oceans to power the world and scientists are finally close to harnessing it.
(ed: with the detailed variables/roadblocks taken care of it does seem an obvious energy solution – ‘cos unlike sun and wind – with their inbuilt nature-variables – the tide always goes out – the tide always comes in – and it does that twice a day – every day..eh..?..)
Unless you’re a surfer – a sailor or the owner of beachfront property during hurricane season you probably don’t spend much time thinking about the power of waves.
That may be changing soon.
Like a large slowly building swell miles from shore the wave-power revolution has quietly and gradually gained momentum.
And this month it began the crest: The Department of Energy announced it would allocate as much as $40 million in funding to develop of the nation’s first open-water wave-energy-testing facility in a location to be determined.
When it comes to tapping the commercial viability of this renewable resource – we could be on the cusp of a tidal change.
For decades wave energy has lagged behind wind energy and solar – in part because harnessing it is so complex.
It involves a number of factors — the speed – height – direction of a swell and the intervals between swells — and more variables equal higher costs.
Additionally – harnessing wave power involves installing costly equipment in a corrosive and treacherous environment.
Then there’s the challenge of transmitting that energy from offshore to the power grid.
These realities have scared away many would-be investors.
Regulatory hurdles have put off others: In 2008, what would have been the first commercial wave-energy project in the country was nixed by California’s Public Utilities Commission – which said the technology was too new to be trusted.
Skeptics think wave energy will always be a stepchild to wind and solar.
‘It should be studied and it should be part of the mix’ Luigi Martinelli an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University told Salon.
‘I just don’t see it being a large part of our renewable portfolio’.
But many other American researchers continue to refine their wave-energy converter systems.
That’s largely because the potential is so huge.
(the ‘potential’ for new zealand is huge – surrounded on all sides/divided by ever-surging-seas – as we are..)