Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

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...

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Blogger jim marquis said...

I think that eventually this will be a big part of our power plan and that desalinization will solve our water problems.

January 29, 2015 at 7:28 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jim: I agree. Eventually desalinization and wave energy will be achieved. Hope it doesn't take too long.

January 29, 2015 at 3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marin County California, has been studying both Desalinization and Wave Energy for a long time. No one is sure how much taking the Salt and other essential minerals out of the ocean and then putting them back in will effect the Ocean Life (How much worse then we already are), perhaps it might be the same effect as taking Nitrogen out of our air. They have concluded that desalinization on a large meaningful scale is more expensive then it’s worth. Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest plants, their process is very expensive, but then the Saudi’s have plenty of money, and they need water and it’s subsidized so their citizens don’t have 4 figure water bills.

I’ve also seen proposals where you have to string long reef like structures that have to capture a significant amount of the wave motion to make it any worth it, but then that could be damaging the ecology, or ruining pristine tourist attracting California coastline views with these contraptions, and then worry about corrosion, coral building (and clogging) or the motion sucking in fish, plankton and krill.

It’s a great idea, but as far as I can see an uphill battle technology wise.


January 29, 2015 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: Port Townsend, WA also had a wave energy project that they finally disbanded because of high costs and disappointing results. It'll be an uphill battle for both desalinization and wave energy to become widely used. But at least we have the technology already; it's a start.

January 30, 2015 at 11:11 AM  

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