LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

The web's first ocean and offshore wind energy weblog. Continuously renewed, like the ocean itself.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Wave May Hold More Possibilities Than Wind for UK

Two stories out of British papers suggest that wave development is preferable to wind. The first article from the Guardian by Paul Brown (2/10/03) states that "turbines driven by the tide could make Britain self sufficient without the vagaries of wind." The article also describes the progress of wave energy in Britain and potential commercial opportunities:

Undersea turbines which produce electricity from the tides are set to become an important source of renewable energy for Britain.

Operating on the same principle as wind turbines, the power in sea turbines comes from tidal currents which turn blades similar to ships' propellers, but unlike wind the tides are predictable and the power output is constant.

The technology raises the prospect of Britain becoming self-sufficient in renewable energy and drastically reducing its carbon dioxide emissions. If tide, wind and wave power are all developed Britain would be able to close gas, coal and nuclear plants and export renewable power to the continent.

Unlike wind power, which Britain originally developed and then abandoned for 20 years allowing the Dutch to make it a major industry, undersea turbines could become a big export earner to island nations such as Japan and New Zealand.

Tidal sites have already been identified that will produce one sixth or more of the UK's power - and at prices competitive with modern gas turbines and undercutting those of the already ailing nuclear industry.
And relatedly,
this article out of Countrylife in the UK (February 11, 2003) reports that "The Government should look to the tides rather than the winds to produce the renewable energy of the future and reduce the UK's carbon dioxide emissions, according to scientists. Marine current turbines rely on predictable tidal movements rather than the vagaries of the wind and can access an estimated four times more energy than wind turbines, they said." This approach contrasts with that of the US which is headed on a faster track to develop offshore wind resources rather than wave.


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