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Ocean Energy Facts

Ocean Energy is one of the renewable energy sources, RES. It is further divided into 4 categories with the two main categories being, Wave Energy and Tidal Energy. Inspired by the two recent articles recently posted about the International Conference on Ocean Energy, ICOE, 2012 and the recent EU declaration, otherwise known as the Limassol Declaration, about Blue Energy and Blue Economy we believe that we should give some facts about the Ocean Energy.

Ocean energy is the energy produced from the Oceans and seas and it is certainly a renewable green energy source as the methods and technologies used to capture the power of the waves and the tides produce no CO2 emissions and are sustainable as long as there are waves and tides.

In the article we will list some of the Ocean Energy facts so as to enable, with these facts, people who are not familiar with the Ocean Energy technology to understand with numbers and facts the benefits of this type of RES.

There are currently 4 types or subcategories of Ocean Energy.

  • Wave Energy: derived from the kinetic energy of the wind  causing waves
  • Tidal Energy: derived from the tides caused by the gravitational forces of the sun and moon.
  • Salinity Gradient Energy: energy captured from the salinity difference between the salty sea water and the fresh water of the rivers.
  • Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, OTEC: derived from the temperature difference between the surface and bottoms of the oceans

Ocean Energy Facts

  1. Oceans make up about 70% of the Earth. This by itself makes Oceans the largest possible source of renewable energy.
  2. Ocean Energy is one of the 5 RESs and falls under the more general Water Energy. The five renewable energy sources are: Solar, Wind, Biomass/Biofuel, Geothermal and Water.
  3. Ocean Energy is one of the least developed Renewable Energy Sources as it requires more investment than the others and in most cases the location it can be produced is not close to the grid. It certainly more R&D to enable these technologies to reach to the stage of cost effectiveness.
  4. Research has shown that the cost of electricity produced from the Oceans can be cheaper than any other sources but because of the hostility of the oceans the maintenance and operation of Ocean Energy facilities is high.
  5. Thermal energy and mechanical energy are the two types of energy produced from the Oceans. Mechanical energy is produced from the waves and tides and thermal energy is produced from the sun’s heat.
  6. Ocean Energy is a driver of jobs and economic growth. In Europe alone it is expected that about 26000 jobs will be created by 2020 due to expansion and exploitation of Ocean energy.
  7. There are at least 25 countries worldwide dealing with Ocean energy.
  8. The European countries which invest in Ocean Energy and have initiated R&D in Ocean energy are: Spain, Portugal, Ireland, UK and Denmark. These are the countries which have strong waves and winds, high tides and rivers which flow in the Oceans to produce the necessary salinity gradient.
  9. In 1996 the La Rance tidal energy project was completed with capacity of 240MW.
  10. The Bureau of Ocean Energy management, BOEM, in the USA was established in 2010 in 2013 it will have a budget of about 170 million to operate in accordance to its articles of establishment
  11. The Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition, OREC, was founded in April 2005 and it is the US trade association for the ocean energy industry in the United States of America. Its mail is to promote the development, advancement and commercialization of the ocean renewable energy.
  12. The Ocean Energy Systems, OES, was founded in 2001 by 3 countries as an intergovernmental collaboration between countries for the promotion of Ocean/Marine Energy. It has now grown to 19 countries.

Ocean Energy is a RES which is still at infant status when compared to other renewable energy sources but it has a great potential since 70% of the surface of the earth is covered by the oceans. The theoretical potential of Ocean Energy is estimated to be around 1.8TW with current knowledge and technologies.