Fossil fuels are the primary energy source around the world used in factories. They are used for their cost-effectiveness and accessibility options. The only downside is that these fossil fuels are limited in nature. They are dangerously close to being exhausted all over the world. If this happens there will be severe consequences. Wildlife and habitats will be destroyed, factories will also cease to function properly. Simply put, another alternative to these fossil fuels is desperately needed.
This is where renewable energy sources come in. Renewable energy is sustainable and will not run out for a long time. Some of these sources include wind energy, solar energy, and wave energy. This article will focus on wave energy and its potential to be the primary source of energy. Wave energy has many benefits that deem it viable to be chosen as the next big thing in energy. There are however some limitations and drawbacks that restrict us from doing so at present. Before we dive into the benefits and drawbacks, we must first know what wave energy is.
What Is Wave Energy
Wave energy is essentially dependant on the surface temperature of the water or the motion. There are many different variables when it comes to how energy is obtained. The most common method is via machinery placed underwater to harness the energy. This machinery is placed via construction processes that involve underwater machinery too. For example, a waterproof robotic arm is needed to lift the heavy materials. On the surface floating platforms and floating bridges are a common sight.
The advantages of wave energy are promising and make it a viable option. Some of these advantages are summarised below.
1: Massive Energy Gains
Wave energy is feasible because of the significant amount of energy it can provide. Compared to other sources of energy, wave energy by far provides the most energy. This is because the energy exerted by waves in oceans is enormous. A large amount of ocean space in the world also owes to the energy gains. If utilized correctly, wave energy can easily power up entire countries. Countries with direct access to oceans will benefit the most from this energy surge.
2: Reliable Energy
Wind and solar energy are highly variable depending on different things. While wave energy is not 100% consistent, it is more reliable than the others. The reason for this is because waves occur all over the world. High winds are present in remote places yet not all over the world. Similarly, cloud cover can potentially ruin the energy gains from solar panels too. Waves will be providing energy throughout the year with a few variable instances in between.
3: Clean Energy
The best benefit of every renewable energy source is that it is clean. It is significantly less harmful to the environment than fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels leads to the release of harmful gases into the atmosphere. Wave energy mitigates this and increased use will reduce the burning of fossil fuels too.
4: Renewable Energy
Wave energy is renewable. This means it will not run out for a very long time. The threat of exceeding resources is nonexistent with the use of wave energy. Renewable properties in conjunction with clean energy make wave energy a superb first choice.
With wave energy being so beneficial to us, why is it that it is not being used actively? There are several reasons for this summarised below.
1: Disrupts Ocean Life
One of the biggest reasons why wave energy is not actively used is the environmental impact. While the negative impact is nowhere near fossil fuels, it is still lethal to ocean life. The heavy machinery vibrating can disrupt the ocean life around. This can lead to a loss of life in the nearby areas as well as lower plant life. The ecosystems surrounding the massive turbines will be slowly phased out.
2: Limited Technology
The potential for massive energy gains from the waves is present. The technology needed to harness that energy however has not yet been developed. Building heavy machinery now would not yield as much energy as predicted. Further advancements still have to be made to gather all the potential energy.
With the energy gains being limited due to outdated technology. The costs incurred and energy gained will not be feasible for any government. Since the machinery needed is also not yet finalized, the cost of producing it is high too. Governments believe the cost outweighs any benefit so far. More portable and efficient machinery need to be developed to make wave energy feasible.
4: Transport Issues
Perhaps the biggest issue with wave energy is the transport limitation. Countries without access to any ocean will be at a severe disadvantage. The transport costs of energy may exceed the gains. There needs to be a better and more accessible transport option available before production.
Wave energy is promising and has a lot to offer. The machinery and technology need to be developed further to make it a possibility. A future where wave energy is the primary source of energy is possible. Experts predict it could be done in the next 10 years.