– Laura Lundberg
Many inventions of renewable technologies are on the rise while a great number of organizations are working towards finding a clean source of energy that will sustain our way of life after our coal and oil resources deplete. There is one power that has been tapped into that could sustain us far longer than coal and oil, and it too harnesses a natural source of energy. This is the natural power of the ocean and its waves.
Harnessing the waves energy is something that has only recently been invested in. While there have been attempts to capture this energy dating back as early as 1890, it was in 2008 that the very first wave power farm opened on the coast of Portugal. While wave power is not as efficient as wind energy, it is something that is open to scientific research and has much room for improvement.
Here in the Northwest, Ocean Power Technologies has bought into the idea. The company deploys buoys into the ocean, which then capture the energy of the oceanic currents and convert the current energy into low cost electricity. The energy is then transmitted via an underwater cable and the electricity from the waves is delivered to a power grid onshore.
There is another project in the works, also by Ocean Power Technologies, to build the first commercial wave farm in the US, harvesting energy off of the Pacific Ocean’s currents. This wave farm will be based in Reedsport, Oregon, and could potentially generate enough electricity to power several hundred homes in the state. The wave farm is still in the process of being constructed, and although it is in the first stages of development as far as scientific research goes, Ocean Power Technologies hopes that this wave farm can open the door to more discoveries about wave power harvesting to make it more productive and cost efficient in the future.