Advantages and Disadvantages of Wave Energy
Similar to most renewable energy sources, wave power is also renewable. Since this energy source ultimately comes from waves crashing upon the shores of many countries near the populated coastal regions, it will not disappear.
2) Environment Friendly
Creating power from wave energy comes without the emission of harmful green house gases, waste, and pollution.
3) Small Footprint
A wave power plant occupying less than half square mile in the ocean would generate more than 30 MW of wave power – the equivalent of nearly 20,000 US homes.
Wave energy is a very reliable source of energy because waves are hardly interrupted and almost always in motion comparing to solar and wind. It is a fact that the amount of energy that is produced and transported through the waves does vary year to year and from season to season. However, energy production is never going to stop.
Wave power is easily predictable and can be used to calculate the amount it can produce compared to most other renewable energy sources. Wave energy is consistent and proves much better than other sources that are dependent on the amount of wind or sun exposure to produce energy.
6) Huge Amounts of Energy Potential
The amount of power that can be produced from the waves is huge. It is so enormous that the power density along the shoreline is approximately 30-40kW per meter (2.2 feet) of a wave. As we go further into the deep ocean, the power density can increase up to approximately 100kW.
7) Offshore Wave Power
Ocean wave power plants can be anchored offshore, solving several of the issues that come with power plants closer to the land. The first benefit of offshore wave power is that there is a larger energy potential in wave’s energy. Placing wave power plants offshore could potentially minimize the negative environmental effects wave power has on the environment.
Disadvantages of Wave Energy
1) Environmental Effects
Wave energy generators may be unpleasant for people who live close to coastal regions and land may cause conflicts with tourism and local acceptance. Coastal installations and facilities have to meet tougher restrictions in terms of size and location.
There are not much data on how wave energy generation affects sea life. However, there will be more testing and trial and error in the near future to improve additional data in this renewable area.
Harnessing wave energy is in infancy stages of development, which makes speculating on costs harder. Wave resources, connections to the power grid and the lifespan of the technology used are quite uncertain at the moment. Of these factors, the lifespan is the most uncertain one, since this is a relatively new technology and we are lacking data on how long these wave energy technology inventions realistically can operate.
The equipment and systems that are involved in wave power generation require regular maintenance. Certain parts of the whole system are under the water require specialized equipment and training to service which can bring the total cost extremely high.
At the moment, wave energy still is in the early stages of development, so costs of wave power are still fairly high compared to other forms of technology. These power plants cannot be developed without sufficient funding from the governments. The future for renewable energy can be very bright, and the costs are expected to drop, when larger facilities are up and running with support and subsidize from governments around the world.
Landlocked countries and cities are not able to use wave energy, so wave energy is not the green energy solution for everyone. Wave energy plants that gather wave power have to be located by or near the coastline to do their job, and they have to be near cities and other populated areas to be of much use to the population.
The future of wave energy power is very bright. Since oceans cover 71% of the Earth, so it's very accessible. Solar always needs the sun, and wind energy always needs the wind to work. Since waves are essentially always in motion and are never interrupted, it's a reliable source compared to others.
This form of wave energy has an enormous global potential. With all the interests from governments to environmental groups and private companies growing among the masses regarding renewable and non-renewable resources, it is essential that everyone leans more towards the more sustainable resources of energy. Once this cycle begins, wave energy is bound to become a booming industry. It would also become the most sought after source of renewable energy. As its usage increases and it becomes more common, it can be expected that the costs will be normalized.
In the meantime, we need more funding and research to improve the technology involved and pushing prices down to a competitive level.