For coastal regions, an adoption of wave power as the main source of energy could help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The waves off U.S. coasts have the estimated potential to produce as much as 2.64 trillion kilowatthours equivalent to about 64% of the electricity generated in the U.S. in 2018.
Wave energy conversion is the process of taking mechanical energy, that is derived from the ocean's waves, and converting it into electrical energy to power homes, businesses, etc.
Ocean waves are caused by wind blowing along the ocean's surface. These waves hold a tremendous amount of energy, and because the wind blows consistently and with a lot of force, the water is able to hold continuous waves.
In looking at renewable energy, an important factor to consider is the consistency and predictability of the renewable source being used. Since the ocean is a 24/7 resource, waves are continuously being produced with varying intensity throughout the day. This massive and highly predictable resource puts wave energy amongst one the most reliable sources for alternative energy.
Multiple companies around the world have been able to harness wave energy through the invention of energy converters. Triton WEC, designed and created by Oscilla Power, utilizes an innovative design that adapts to the fluctuating force of the ocean's waves, regardless of how much fluctuation is occurring.
Conversations surrounding the reduction of fossil fuels have been circling the globe long before the proposal of a Green New Deal. In fact, according to an article published in The National Geographic, carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal account for 44% of the world's total. It is attributed to being the biggest single source cause of rising global temperatures above pre-industrial levels.
The November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment Report found that global temperatures must be kept below 1.5 degrees Celcius (above pre-industrial levels), in order to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change.
As human activity has attributed to a majority of the observed climate change over the past century, protecting against severe consequences of climate change will require global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human sources. Specifically, 40 to 60 percent from 2010 levels by 2030 and net-zero global emissions by 2050, according to the report.
Renewable sources like wave energy produce zero greenhouse gas emissions, allowing for a global reduction of CO2 levels over time. In addition to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, wave energy provides a slew of energy conservation benefits:
The economic growth of wave energy is largely contributed to investments from manufacturers into the research and development of hydroelectric power. The need for renewable energy will only continue to grow, as the harmful effects of fossil fuels on the environment become more apparent. Wave energy has the potential to account for 25% of energy in the U.S. alone, creating a massive opportunity for economic growth in this sector.