Oceans are covering up to 70 percent of our planet. Yet, until now we didn’t hear much about their potential for providing us with huge quantities of renewable energy.
But as things are beginning to change as projects are being launched in Europe and in the United States it is time for me to write on this topic.
In today’s article, I will propose you an introduction to the two different possibilities at our disposal as well as a selection of news on this topic.
According to an old article from TreeHugger, there are several ways for us to harness energy from surrounding seas and oceans. Basically, you can choose between wave and tidal power.
As Wikipedia puts it :
Wave power refers to the energy of ocean surface waves and the capture of that energy to do useful work — including electricity generation, desalination, and the pumping of water.
Tidal power (…) is a form of hydropower that converts the energy of tides into electricity or other useful forms of power.
Tidal power is already a reality as New York City has already installed such a plan, but this time in the East River. Another one is planned for next year in Scotland.
Here is what Clean Technica says on the NYC one :
After two failed attempts, New York City has installed a new-and-improved aluminum alloy turbine in the East River, the only of its kind in the United States. The turbine is the first of 300 which the city hopes to install in the waterway. Unlike the typical river which flows in a constant direction, the East River is a tidal straight with strong, fluctuating currents which allow for more efficient power generation.
Once in place, the system could provide electricity to 10,000 households.
On the Scottish project :
“Tidal power is completely renewable, being driven by the gravity of the sun and moon, with no carbon dioxide emissions, plus the added benefit of being entirely predictable,” said Keith Anderson, the director of ScottishPower Renewables. The farms would help Scotland attain its goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 80% by 2050.
Concerning wave power, the situation is similar as the first project just went online, but this time in Portugal. As CleanTechnica notes :
Earlier this week, Portugal debuted the world’s first commercial wave energy farm. Wave energy at the Agucadoura station is converted into electricity with the use of three red “sea-snakes”, or cylindrical wave energy converters, that are attached to the seabed off Portugal’s northern coast. Energy captured by the sea-snakes is carried to an undersea cable station, where it is then fed into the electrical grid.
(…) Unfortunately, wave power is not price competitive in Portugal at the moment. (…) However, proponents of the farm believe that wave energy could be cost-efficient within 15 years.
Last but not least, this website notes that to some expert, wave energy could provide up to 10 percent of the United States’ electricity. A most interesting prospect.
And you, what do you think about all those news ? In any case, be sure that I will keep you posted on this topic. So for this and for much more, stay tuned !