Exploitation of Wave Energy

Gossiping for solutions about the usability of renewable energy resources, we find new, innovative ideas. One of them is the exploitation of wave energy. There are many good places for  wave energy exploitation, but according to World Energy Council the best locations can be found in Australia, specifically on Australia’s southern coast. Scientists have concluded that there can be generated five times more electricity than Australia’s current consumption. Dr Mark Hemer from Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research’s says: “If we look at the sustained energy resource along the southern coastline – and we’re looking between Geraldton in West Australia and southern tip of Tasmania – that has a sustained wave energy resource of about five times larger than Australia’s present day electricity consumption”.

The fact is that wave energy is still in very early stages of development. There is only about four megawatts of installed generating capacity in the world. Compared these four megawatts to 200.000 megawatts of installed wind energy capacity, we can conclude that wave energy is still not a cost effective energy source. However, with massive production we can experience a significant drop in cost. Then, wave energy could become very interesting for investors.

2.5 megawatt demonstration scale wave energy generating device was launched at Port Kembala in eastern Australia. This device was installed about 100 meters from Port Kembala harbor and at the same time it is one of the first wave energy devices that are connected to grid. At first this was designed as short living demonstration project, but this installation confirmed that wave energy can be used to generate acceptable grid-quality power.

Wave power is sufficient to do useful work — for instance, electricity generation, water desalination, or the pumping of water (into reservoirs). WE have to know that wave power is different from the diurnal flux of tidal power and the steady gyre of ocean currents. Although there have been attempts at using wave power since at least 1890, it is still not  a widely employed commercial technology.

The first commercial wave farm was opened in 2008  in Portugal. It used three Pelamis P-750 machines with a total installed capacity of 2.25MW. Unfortunately, in November the units were removed from the water, and in March 2009 the project was suspended indefinitely.


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