Could wave power be the most efficient energy alternative to fossil fuels?
BY MIKE JAMES. It has been persistently argued that marine energy converters could offer a more reliable source of energy in comparison to alternative clean energy sources. Now researchers have come forward from the College of Engineering at Oregon State University with new analysis that suggests wave power could also prove to be a cheaper alternative to its renewable energy counterparts. The new analysis has suggested that large-scale wave power arrays could balance out supply and demand by not putting a substantial amount of pressure on the grid.
So what do we know already about wave power that would suggest it is a genuine potential successor to fossil fuels? Some of the most enthusing aspects of wave energy production are that it is free and far cheaper to operate and maintain. Also, fuel is not required and no waste is produced using this technology.
Proponents of wave power believe it represents a far more productive option to other renewable energy alternatives. But while waves are capable of producing a great deal of energy, one of the most notable disadvantages is that energy production is entirely dependent on waves and their consistency. Wave energy sites must therefore be set up in locations where wave power is relatively strong and reliable. Any form of technology designed for wave energy production must also be able to withstand damaging weather conditions.
As far as business is concerned, we have longed for the opportunity to discover the most cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels. With many renewable energy predictions lambasted for being far too expensive, it’s no surprise that, due to the infancy of wave power technologies, there have been a number of complaints suggesting wave energy would exceed the cost of not just fossil fuels but other alternative renewable energy sources as well.
However, the study that was published in this month’s US-based Renewable Energy journal suggests that wave power technologies could indeed prove to be a viable replacement for fossil fuels in the future as far as costs are concerned.
An associate professor at Oregon State University, Ted Brekken, explained why he felt wave power could topple alternative counterparts and become the optimal replacement for fossil fuels in the future. He stated that the biggest challenge faced when any new form of energy comes along is trying to integrate it into a system alongside other sources.
The integration process is what must be made simpler to reduce costs. Brekken argues that the integration of wave energy could be easier than that of wind energy if we start “producing wave energy from a range of different sites, possibly with different types of technology, and take advantage of the comparative consistency of the wave resource itself,” he stated.
The potential for extracting energy from waves continues to be explored, especially with the lack of financial restrictions associated with developing technologies of this type. However, its efficiency will depend on whether it can consistently generate power in all types of weather conditions and not just during storms.
About: Mike James is a freelance writer who has written about renewable energy sources, among other related topics.
Renewable Energy, Academic Journal, Tim Brekken - Associate Professor
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Posted 19/02/2015 by Reg Tucker
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