Wave Energy

Energy can also be extracted from the non-tidal surface ocean waves. A number of different schemes have been suggested for the harnessing of the up and down action of waves. Thus far, none of these schemes has resulted in a utility power plant. In 1988, a contract was signed between a Norwegian company, Norwave, and the government of Bali, in the South Pacific, to install a wave power plant. This plant will use a "Tapchan" (tapered channel) device. It consists of a concrete slope with walls that makes the waves run uphill. The waves enter the wide end of the tapered channel. As they are squeezed together by the walls of the channel, the waves become higher. The bottom of the tapered channel rises smoothly to a reservoir. The growing waves continue to push up the channel until they spill into the reservoir. The water in the reservoir is allowed to return to the ocean through an electric power-generating turbine. This system is relatively costly, but when compared to the cost of supplying oil to a remote island in steel drams of oil for power generation, it may prove practical. 109 In 1982, England officially abandoned their wave power plant demonstration program funded by the government. In 1997 Osprey, a Scottish commercial wave power generator was wrecked by a storm. The United States navy uses a buoy made by Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) of New Jersey to supply 1 kilowatt of power for remote ocean sensors. OPT has plans to build 20 kilowatt plant to be

107 http://www.iclei.org/efacts/tidal.htm

108 Milne, Roger,"Tidal Power Ruffles Feathers", New Scientist, Vol. 118, No. 1614, May 26,1988, Page 38

109 Editors, "Norwegians Make Waves In Bali", New Scientist, Vol. 117, No. 1603, March 10, 1988, Page 37

installed off Australia's coast and is designing a 100 kilowatt version. 110 Small scale harvesting of wave energy, in special circumstances, appears to be marginally feasible. Wide scale use of wave energy is unlikely.

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