Wave energy in the world
By some estimates, the ocean’s endless motion packs enough power to meet a quarter of America’s energy needs. But wave energy technology lags well behind wind and solar power, with important technical hurdles still to be overcome.
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America’s First Wave-Produced Power Goes Online in Hawaii (19 September 2016)
By Cathy Bussewitz, Associated Press
Developers are still working to come up with the best design. Some buoys capture the up-and-down motion of the waves, while others exploit the side-to-side movement. Industry experts say a machine that uses all the ocean’s movements is most likely to succeed.
Also, the machinery has to be able to withstand powerful storms, the constant pounding of the seas and the corrosive effects of saltwater.
Wave energy technology is at about the same stage as the solar and wind industries were in the 1980s.
it is said the USA are a decade behind Europe. The European Marine Energy Centre in Scotland, for example, has 14 grid-connected berths that have housed dozens of wave and tidal energy devices from around the world over the past 13 years, and Wave Hub in England has several such berths. China, too, has been building and testing dozens of units at sea.
But while the U.S. government and military have put about US$334 million into marine energy research over the past decade, Britain and the rest of Europe have invested more than $1 billion, according to the Marine Energy Council, a trade group.
Wave energy in Hawaii
The U.S. Navy has established a test site in Hawaii, in Kaneohe Bay with hopes the technology can someday be used to produce clean, renewable power for offshore fueling stations for the fleet and provide electricity to coastal communities in fuel-starved places around the world.
Hawaii would seem a natural site for such technology. It is blessed with powerful waves.
Jose Zayas, a director of the Wind and Water Power Technologies Office at the U.S. Energy Department, which helps fund the Hawaii site, said the United States could get 20 to 28% of its energy needs from waves without encroaching on sensitive waters such as marine preserves.
Though small in scale, the test project near Kaneohe Bay represents the vanguard of U.S. wave energy development. It consists of two buoys anchored a half-mile to a mile offshore.
One of them, the Azura, which extends 12 feet above the surface and 50 feet below, converts the waves’ vertical and horizontal movements into up to 18 KW of electricity. The company involved, Northwest Energy Innovations of Portland, Oregon, plans a version that can generate at least 500 KW.