The United States Navy has just installed America’s first wave energy power grid to capture the energy harnessed in the rising and falling of the waves at a test site in Hawaii. Wave energy is not yet as developed or widely employed as wind or solar energy is in the United States. However, some experts believe that a quarter of the energy in the US could be supplied by wave energy.
The test site in Hawaii was developed as an initiative to power energy starved areas in remote locations as well as to provide a more flexible energy grid for the naval forces. As of now, buoys offshore send current down a mile-long cable on the ocean floor, to Oahu, where it connects to the power grid. Hawaii is the perfect test site for such an endeavor, since wave energy is highly predictable by season, however it still could be up to 10 years before wave energy is an affordable alternate to other sources of energy, experts say.
“When you think about all of the states that have water along their coasts, there’s quite a bit of wave energy potential,” said Jose Zayas, director of the Wind and Water Power Technologies Office at the U.S. Energy Department.
-Associated Press, ABC News
Researches are planning to expand these test sites to include Oregon and California coastlines, outside of marine protected areas. Although wave buoys are still expected to draw similar opposition to wind turbines, the renewable energy source is a better alternative to fossil fuels, helping to reduce United States emissions.