Clean Energy Initiatives
Generating technologies for deriving electrical power from the ocean include tidal power, wave power, ocean thermal energy conversion, ocean currents, ocean winds and salinity gradients. Of these, the three most well-developed technologies are tidal power, wave power and ocean thermal energy conversion. Tidal power requires large tidal differences which, in the U.S., occur only in Maine and Alaska. Ocean thermal energy conversion is limited to tropical regions, such as Hawaii, and to a portion of the Atlantic coast. Wave energy has a more general application, with potential along the California coast. The western coastline has the highest wave potential in the U.S.; in California, the greatest potential is along the northern coast.
The movement of water in the world’s oceans creates a vast store of kinetic energy, or energy in motion. This energy can be harnessed to generate electricity to power homes, transport and industries.
Ocean energy encompasses both wave power i.e. power from surface waves, and tidal power i.e. obtained from the kinetic energy of large bodies of moving water. The oceans have a tremendous amount of energy and are close to many if not most concentrated populations. Ocean energy has the potential of providing a substantial amount of new renewable energy around the world.