The Largest Untapped Source Of Energy

Of all forms of energy we use today, marine energy is our largest untapped energy source. Compared to other renewable technologies, it is still very much in its infancy, having received minimal attention and development capital.

TABLE 5.1 Energy Density of Renewable Energy Sources

Energy Source Energy Density


100-200 W/m2 typical


4QQ-6QQ W/m2 for a good-to-excellent site, but ranges from 1QQ to 7QQ W/m2


2,000 W/m2 typical, but ranges from 1,500 to 4,500 W/m2


1,000,000 W/meter of wave crest length, or 20,000-70,000 W/m2 for the best sites

Data sources: Wave energy: World Energy Council, "Survey of Energy Resources 2007," asp; Tidal energy: Electric Power Research Institute, "Overview: EPRI Ocean Energy Program," slide deck, Duke Global Change Center, September 14, 2006, attachments/ocean/briefing/Duke_Sep_14.pdf; "Marine Renewable Energy," British Wind Energy Association,; Wind energy: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, as cited by RS/GIS Laboratory, Utah State University, "Western U.S. Wind Resource at 50 Meters Above Ground Level," February 2004,, http://

The first major real-world trials of a new generation of commercial wave and tidal generating machines are just getting under way.

Ocean energy offers clean, green, and consistent power, all at a relatively low cost, with negligible environmental impact. And since the "fuel" of ocean generators—the movement of waves and tides—costs nothing, marine energy holds the promise of being able to generate electricity at highly competitive rates. In addition, they avoid the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) resistance that has inhibited wind projects because tidal projects are underwater and most wave projects are very low profile and well out to sea.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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