Ocean Waves Could Supply Half of America's Electricity. BUT...
Yes of course there's a “but.” This article is titled Wave Power Could Supply Half the U.S. with Cheap Electricity — Here's Why It Doesn't.
According to the Electric Power Research Institute, the constant ebb and flow of ocean waves along America's coastlines could generate 1,170 terawatt-hours per year — about half the United States’ annual electricity demand. Not only that, but wave energy would be even cheaper than wind and solar power, since it's more consistent and hence more reliable.
Using the example of the Pacific Northwest's current power grid, wave energy would cost $1.09 per kilowatt, compared to $1.20 per kilowatt for wind power. Ted Brekken, a renewable energy expert at Oregon State University, said:
“Putting wave energy systems in different locations and possibly with different types of technology would mean a power source with less variability than wind and one that should integrate easily.”
“The same powerful ocean forces that can generate constant electricity will also batter and corrode wave-energy devices 24-7. Developing a generator that can withstand the relentless pounding of the ocean without breaking the bank has been tough sledding.” [from the linked article]
According to the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult:
“There is a lack of willingness from potential investors to invest in wave and tidal energy at the moment.”
Ted Brekken said:
“Since the global economic crisis, all of the wave-energy companies pushing forward in the early 2000s really took a step back and are licking their wounds....It’s just a taxing and very large initial barrier for companies to develop the groundwork. The technology is there; it’s been proven. There’s nothing exotic about wave-energy-conversion technology itself—it’s just expensive to do stuff in the ocean.”
Come on. If we could put a man on the moon...