Wave energy could prove to be more steady, cheaper renewable energy source

Power generated by waves can be can be forecast with a high degree of accuracy without much variability for hours at a time, which is a huge advantage for any renewable source, says study

By Aruna Kumarankandath
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Image courtesy Oregon State UniversityEnergy from ocean waves is more reliable and could prove cheaper, say scientists. Oregon State University (OSU), in its findings published in the journal Renewable Energy,  has asserted that wave energy in areas with high potential, such as northwestern Pacific, will be comparatively stable and can be integrated into the grid at lower costs, especially wind power. This study was a collaboration of researchers at OSU, the University of Victoria, and industry.

According to the report, power generated by waves can be can be forecast with a high degree of accuracy without much variability for hours at a time. This is a huge advantage for any renewable source since power from renewable sources is intermittent and unreliable. The study examined the hypothetical addition of 500 megawatts of generating capacity in the region by 2025, which would be comparable to approximately five large wind farms.

The predictability is also important for grid integration of renewable power. Ted Brekken, associate professor, College of Engineering at OSU, opined, "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.”

However, wave energy is not a commercially viable, not even in the Pacific Northwest, but like any technology, costs would come down with more deployment. The Pacific Northwest has some of the US’ best wave energy resources, and is home to the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. “Wave energy off the West Coast has incredible potential. Now we have reached an important step in the leasing process for the nation’s first grid-connected facility in federal waters to test commercial-scale wave energy devices.” said Walter Cruickshank, acting director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), a US government agency.

It is imperative that new forms of energy like wave energy are explored and develop for economic growth especially to diversify the energy portfolio for any country.

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  • Excellent. Wave power


    Wave power

    Ocean wave energy is captured directly from surface waves or from pressure fluctuations below the surface. Wave power systems convert the motion of the waves into usable mechanical energy which in lump can be used to generate electricity. Waves are caused by wind blowing on the surface of the water. Whereas tidal power relies on the mass movement of the water body, waves act as a carrier for kinetic energy generated by the wind.
    1. Float Or Buoy Systems that use the rise and fall of ocean swells to drive hydraulic pumps. The object can be mounted to a floating raft or to a device fixed on the ocean bed. A series of anchored buoys rise and fall with the wave. The movement is used to run an electrical generator to produce electricity which is then transmitted ashore by underwater power cables.
    2. Oscillating Water Column Devices in which the in-and-out motion of waves at the shore enters a column and force air to turn a turbine. The column fills with water as the wave rises and empties as it descends. In the process, air inside the column is compressed and heats up, creating energy. This energy is harnessed and sent to shore by electrical cable.
    3. Tapered Channel rely on a shore mounted structure to channel and concentrate the waves driving them into an elevated reservoir. Water flow out of this reservoir is used to generate electricity using standard hydropower technologies.
    Potential of Wave energy in India
    The potential along the 6000 Km of coast is about 40,000 MW. This energy is however less intensive than what is available in more northern and southern latitudes. In India the research and development activity for exploring wave energy started at the Ocean Engineering Centre, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in 1982. Primary estimates indicate that the annual wave energy potential along the Indian coast is between 5 MW to 15 MW per meter, thus a theoretical potential for a coast line of nearly 6000 KW works out to 40000-60000 MW approximately. However, the realistic and economical potential is likely to be considerably less.

    Barriers Depends on the waves ÔÇô variable energy supply Global estimates put the price of power generation from Waves at 15-17 cents/kWh (no Indian cost estimates available) Needs a suitable site, where waves are consistently strong Some designs are noisy Must be able to withstand very rough weather Visual impact if above water or on shore Poses a possible threat to navigation from collisions due to the low profile of the wave energy devices above the water, making them undetectable either by direct sighting or by radar May interfere with mooring and anchorage lines with commercial and sport-fishing May degrade scenic ocean front views from wave energy devices located near or on the shore, and from onshore overhead electric transmission lines. ÔÇô
    Tidal Barrage
    A way of converting the energy of tides into electric power. A tidal barrage works in a similar way to that of a hydroelectric scheme, except that the dam is much bigger and spans a river estuary. When the tide goes in and out, the water flows through tunnels in the barrage. The ebb and flow of the tides can be used to turn a turbine, or it can be used to push air through a pipe, which then turns a turbine

    Proposed tidal power projects in India
    Ministry of New and Renewable Energy said in Feb 2011 that it may provide financial incentives for as much as 50 percent of the cost for projects seeking to demonstrate tidal power.
    Kachchh Tidal Power Project [iv]
    ´éº In, 1970, the CEA had identified this tidal project in the Gulf of Kachchh in Gujarat. The investigations were formally launched in 1982. Sea bed analysis and studies for preparation of feasibility report were of highly specialized and complex nature without precedence in the country. More than twelve specialized organizations of Govt. of India and Govt. of Gujarat were involved in the field of investigations. The techno-economic feasibility study has been completed in a very scientific and systematic manner and the feasibility report completed in 1988.
    ´éº The proposed tidal power scheme envisages an installation of 900 MW project biggest in the world, located in the Hansthal Creek, 25 Kms. from Kandla Port in Distt.. Kachchh of Gujarat State. It comprises of the following:
    ´éº The main tidal rockfill barrage of 3.25 Km length was proposed to be constructed across Hansthal Creek which will accommodate the power house, sluice gates and navigational lock.
    ´éº It envisages installation of 900 MW capacity comprising of 36 geared bulb type turbo-generators units of 25 MW each and 48 sluice gates each of 10 M. x 12 M. size would generate 1690 Gwh of energy annually. Unfortunately, this project execution has not been taken up so far because of unknown reasons.
    ´éº In Jan 2011, the state of Gujarat announced plans to install AsiaÔÇÖs first commercial-scale tidal current power plant; the state government approved the construction of a 50 MW project in the Gulf of Kutch.

    Tidal Barriers: Problems Faced in Exploiting Tidal Energy
    ´éº Intermittent supply - Cost and environmental problems, particularly barrage systems are less attractive than some other forms of renewable energy. Global estimates put the price of generation at 13-15 cents/kWh (no Indian estimates available)
    ´éº Cost - The disadvantages of using tidal and wave energy must be considered before jumping to conclusion that this renewable, clean resource is the answer to all our problems. The main detriment is the cost of those plants.
    ´éº The altering of the ecosystem at the bay - Damages like reduced flushing, winter icing and erosion can change the vegetation of the area and disrupt the balance. Similar to other ocean energies, tidal energy has several prerequisites that make it only available in a small number of regions. For a tidal power plant to produce electricity effectively (about 85% efficiency), it requires a basin or a gulf that has a mean tidal amplitude (the differences between spring and neap tide) of 7 meters or above. It is also desirable to have semi-diurnal tides where there are two high and low tides everyday. A barrage across an estuary is very expensive to build, and affects a very wide area - the environment is changed for many miles upstream and downstream. Many birds rely on the tide uncovering the mud flats so that they can feed. There are few suitable sites for tidal barrages.
    ´éº Only provides power for around 10 hours each day, when the tide is actually moving in or out.
    ´éº Present designs do not produce a lot of electricity, and barrages across river estuaries can change the flow of water and, consequently, the habitat for birds and other wildlife
    ´éº Expensive to construct
    ´éº Power is often generated when there is little demand for electricity

    ´éº Limited construction locations
    ´éº Barrages may block outlets to open water. Although locks can be installed, this is often a slow and expensive process.
    ´éº Barrages affect fish migration and other wildlife- many fish like salmon swim up to the barrages and are killed by the spinning turbines.
    ´éº Fish ladders may be used to allow passage for the fish, but these are never 100% effective.
    ´éº Barrages may also destroy the habitat of the wildlife living near it
    ´éº Barrages may affect the tidal level - the change in tidal level may affect navigation, recreation, cause flooding of the shoreline and affect local marine life [v]
    ´éº Tidal plants are expensive to build
    ´éº They can only be built on ocean coastlines, which mean that for communities which are far away from the sea, it's useless.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP)

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