Wave power is yet another form of renewable energy that can help improve electric grid reliability. Although this energy source has been around for years, other clean energy sources like solar and wind seem to get all the press. Well, that stops today!
Primer on Wave Power
There are many wave power projects around the world, encompassing a variety of different forms and technologies, none of which has grabbed the reigns to be the dominant form. In the U.S., the Department of Energy is funding a large research project designed to advance the technology, but this research is admittedly in the very early stages.
Wave power trumps solar and wind power because the wave energy never stops, whereas the other sources are more dependent on the weather. It’s also far more powerful and efficient in general – this article has some awe-inspiring statistics.
The downside of this form of energy is the challenge inherent in building anything in the ocean. It’s tricky, and at this point, it is extremely expensive to develop a large-scale project. This, in fact, is the main reason that this form of energy has not taken off like it’s clean energy brethren.
Will wave power ever gain steam and scale up? The answer is yes and no. More wave projects will be developed over time, but it is unlikely this energy source will ever account for more than 5-6% of total electricity generation in the U.S.
That said, the more energy source diversity we can incorporate into electricity generation, the more reliable the overall grid will be. So even though wave power will likely only capture a small share of the generation market, every little bit of diversification helps. And this is great from an emergency preparedness perspective!