It is one of the five sources of renewable energy. It is the energy carried by the waves of the sea or oceans, caused by the winds blowing over the oceans and when captured can be converted into useful, clean and green electricity.
We can try to understand real impact as a renewable green energy source by looking at some of the facts. The following is a list and in some cases an analysis of some of these facts.
It can be considered as a form of stored wind energy and this is because waves are produced from the winds which blow over the sea. Wind in its turn is produced from the Sun energy which heats the atmosphere.
The first idea about wave technologies and the exploitation of waves was patented in 1799 in France by Girard and son.
This can be captured at 3 different locations in the sea: nearshore, offshore and far offshore. It can be captured either at the surface of the sea from waves or lower in the sea from the pressure changes.
Some areas of the world are more suitable for wave energy than others. Most of the waves that are captured in the sea a progressive wind waves since they are generated by winds. The potential of it in an area or in a country is measured in Kilowatts (KW) per meter of coastline in the area or of the country.
It is estimated that its potential of the US coastline is about 252 billion KWh per year!
Its installation can produce more energy with less equipment per real estate due to the fact that the water of the sea is about 850 times denser than the air at same level. Sea waves have the highest energy density among the other renewable energy sources. The first wave power farm which was put in production was in Portugal.
The largest wave power farm was built in Portugal and used 3 wave energy converters producing in total 2.25MW of power.
By 2020 the expectation for the production of energy from the wave power in Portugal is 400GWh which will be the 0.6% of the estimated energy consumption in Portugal. The largest wave energy project of 19MW was announced in July 2012 and it is to be built off the coast of Victoria, Australia. The average wave energy cost is about 4 cents per KWh.
The greatest variety of wave technologies and devices developed are used in Scotland for wave energy projects. Scotland produces about 10% of the total wave energy of Europe thus making it a significant player in the wave energy market and a center of Research and Development, R&D. The Orkney Islands in Scotland are one of the leading areas in wave energy in the world.
One of the wave energy advantages is that its installation have low OPEX – Low operational and maintenance costs. Another advantage is the obvious, being a green energy it has no C02 emissions thus a clean energy. Wave Dragon is the name given to a technology that is used to convert wave power into electricity.
Oyster is the name of another wave energy converter widely used.
One wave energy disadvantages is the fact the its plants are usually far from areas of energy consumption and this makes it one of the least developed renewable green energy sources. The energy from the sea waves can be utilized through a process called Influx energy.
There are about 100 companies in the world which deal with it, wave power plants and other related energy activities. It is certainly a clean and renewable green energy source and as the time progresses there are such advances in this technology which reduce the costs, enable the production of more efficient wave energy converters and improve its advantages .