Wave energy integration costs should compare favorably to other energy sources

Wave energy integration costs should compare favorably to other energy sources
The Ocean Sentinel has been deployed off the Oregon Coast, one of the nation's first wave energy testing devices. Credit: Pat Kight, Oregon Sea Grant

A new analysis suggests that large-scale wave energy systems developed in the Pacific Northwest should be comparatively steady, dependable and able to be integrated into the overall energy grid at lower costs than some other forms of alternative energy, including wind power.

The findings, published in the journal Renewable Energy, confirm what scientists have expected - that will have fewer problems with variability than some and that by balancing wave over a larger geographic area, the variability can be even further reduced.

The variability of is one factor that holds back their wider use - if wind or solar energy decreases and varies widely, then some other energy production has to back it up, and that adds to the overall cost of energy supply.

"Whenever any new form of energy is added, a challenge is to integrate it into the system along with the other sources," said Ted Brekken, an associate professor and expert in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University.

"By producing wave energy from a range of different sites, possibly with different types of technology, and taking advantage of the comparative consistency of the wave resource itself, it appears that wave energy integration should be easier than that of wind energy," he said. "The reserve, or backup generation, necessary for wave energy integration should be minimal."

This estimate of the cost of integrating wind energy indicated that it would be 10 percent or less than the actual charges being made for the integration of . Energy integration, however, is just one component of the overall cost of the power generated. Wave energy, still in the infancy of its development, is not yet cost competitive on an overall basis.

Wave energy is not now being commercially produced in the Pacific Northwest, but experts say its future potential is significant, and costs should come down as technologies improve and more systems are developed. This study examined the hypothetical addition of 500 megawatts of generating capacity in this region by 2025, which would be comparable to approximately five large wind farms.

Another strength of wave energy, the study suggested, is that its short-term generation capacity can be predicted with a high degree of accuracy over a time scale ranging from minutes to hours, and with some accuracy even seasonally or annually.

The Pacific Northwest has some of the nation's best wave energy resources, and as a result is home to the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Wave energy in the region is expected to spur economic growth, help diversify the portfolio, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce transmission losses, the study noted.


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Journal information: Renewable Energy

Citation: Wave energy integration costs should compare favorably to other energy sources (2015, January 7) retrieved 20 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-01-energy-favorably-sources.html
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Jan 08, 2015
There are many problems with wave energy including now to keep the systems together in storms, and how to compensate for tides. I had several folk come to me in the utility with schemes for harnessing this power, but none with funding.

It may be a while before it becomes practical.

Jan 08, 2015
There are many problems with wave energy including now to keep the systems together in storms, and how to compensate for tides.

The further out you go the less issue you should have with tides. And the storm susceptibility should be the same for wind parks (which seem to handle it fine).

Wave generators would be worth it even if they were somewhat more expensive during setup and higher maintenance - because wind/solar has to sell when they produce...which can mean low profit even if output is high. With continuous production wave would be better suited for base loads (would be economically better predictable - which is a huge plus for investors)

Jan 08, 2015
I am unaware of any wave-energy system which has worked and survived the elements.

Jan 08, 2015
There are many problems with wave energy including now to keep the systems together in storms, and how to compensate for tides
These are factors which real engineers are able to design for.
I had several folk come to me in the utility
Why would they be coming to a job shopper temp? Maybe they were looking for directions to the office of someone who could actually help them out.
I am unaware of any wave-energy system which has worked and survived the elements.
Thats because you dont know anything about the tech. None of these have problems surviving 'the elements'.
http://en.wikiped...chnology

Jan 08, 2015
Those are all experiments.

We essentially have no wave power. Just like you have no safe nuclear energy.

Jan 09, 2015
I am unaware of any wave-energy system which has worked and survived the elements


This type seems quite robust:
http://en.wikiped...y_LIMPET
which is going into its 15th year of energy production. (It is not without drawbacks. Mainly it's an eye-sore and it is loud)
But in some out-of-the-way coastlines this may be suitable for large scale deployment.

Jan 09, 2015
Those are all experiments
Correct. Experiments which have no major problems dealing with the elements.
We essentially have no wave power. Just like you have no safe nuclear energy.
Correct. That's because it is still in the experimental stages where conditions of durability are being identified and designed for. You didn't understand this did you?

Jan 09, 2015
Yes, otto, I worked with inventors of those systems who came to us for funding,. But we did not fund technologies, the business was to use ones already showing practical application.

What did you do? Read wiki?

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