Ocean Energy Facts
- channel systems that funnel the waves into reservoirs
- float systems that drive hydraulic pumps
- oscillating water column systems that use waves to compress air within a container
Such technologies are still quite expensive, but costs could be reduced drastically with the right scale of development.
Wave power and tidal power are not, however, without environmental concerns. Special care is needed to avoid disruption to the sea area and the risk of pollution to rivers.
Tidal powerTides are driven primarily by the gravitational pull of the moon. Tidal power works by harnessing ocean tides, especially in narrow river mouths or sea straits, to produce energy.
Tidal streams are converted into electricity by forcing the water through turbines, which activate a generator.
Options include dams, tidal lagoons and tidal stream systems.
Tidal power generators can be expensive to set up. However, they have the potential to deliver cheaper electricity in the long term.
The oldest tidal power plant was set up 1965 on the Rance River in northwestern France with 24, 10MW generators. It has functioned without fail ever since. Other plants exist in Russia, Canada and China.
More recent projects include the SeaGen, a 1.2 MW tidal stream energy convertor, which operates in Strangford Lough in the Irish Sea off Northern Ireland.