Considering the amount of available energy there is for the conversion to electricity (ocean waves being endless) I would imagine more attention to this approach by all energy based-companies, as well as world powers. I have ideas about this, sorry if I am vague at the moment. But what is hindering this relatively new technology from advancing to the point where it's a major source of power?
What are the inhibiting factors that are hindering ocean wave-based electricity generation?
Factors that inhibit the exploitation of ocean wave energy:
- Only seaboard countries can have primary access to ocean waves.
- Some seaboard countries have long coastlines, other have short coast lines.
- Sea ice in arctic countries reduces the sea space available to utilize ocean waves.
- Though ocean waves are a constant, their energy intensity varies during the course of each day. This is partly due to the affects of wind direction and strength and ocean tides.
- Coastal shipping routes can affect where wave energy generators can be located, as can the migration routes and calving regions, of certain marine species and the location of colonies of ocean going fauna, such as seals, penguins and coastal birds that rely on the ocean for their food. They must also not interfere with fisheries, spawning regions are coastal regions of marine significance, such as coral reefs.
- Oceans are a hostile environment. Wave generators must withstand constant buffeting by the waves and exposure to the Sun. The water is saline and thus corrosive. This places special requirements on which materials can be used and also on seals and bearings for rotating equipment and cables. Their anchors to the sea floor need to be sturdy, but also flexible to accommodate differences in sea level due to tides and ocean surges.
- Wave generators will only be able to operate in locations which do not experience extreme waves, either very high and aggressive waves or waves that are exceedingly gentle. This also limits where and when they can be used. Regions that are affected by cyclones/typhoons/hurricanes or that can be affected by tsunamis can greatly affect where wave generators can be situated or how they are designed, constructed and anchored to the sea floor.
- One also needs to consider the amount of energy that can be utilized from ocean waves, in a given location, compared to other sources of energy and which gives a greater economic return on each type of electricity generating system.
- The protection of such important national assets during times of conflict would be an additional concern.