|While the wave energy industry is still in its infancy phase of development, America and the rest of the world are realizing the catastrophic effects of the oil industry's grip upon the global economy. We look at hydrogen and solar energy as viable alternatives to oil. In addition, tidal wave energy is a phenomenon that should be seriously considered as a viable form of energy for people to power their homes, cars, and boats.|
By James Jonas, Member of the International Academy of Science
We look to wave energy as an alternative to oil as a way to rid the world of greenhouse gases and deadly particulate matter, save money, and increase energy independence.
Costs and Weaknesses of the Tidal Wave Industry
Similar to all other energy industries seeking to take market share from the oil industry, Tidal energy faces a tough policy battle. The private interests seeking to grow water energy face the challenge of raising capital to fund projects, while the public image of water energy is that it lacks efficacy and punch relative to the costs involved and to the other alternatives available. Historically, forms of water energy have been used in Europe for many centuries. In fact, wave energy has been used in some form or another dating back at least 6,000 years to Mesopotamia. More recent developments use dam like structures to capture water in areas with large tides. Once the water is trapped, the dam opens allowing waves to fall from tall heights through turbines that generate electricity. The process used in the way of trapping water with dams is expensive. Secondly dams must be located in areas where waters form a fast moving current in an estuarial stream. The requirement that tidal mills be in locations where there are very strong currents limit the viability of tidal energy where the currents may not be so strong. The strong current requirements combined with the economic interests involved determine the efficacy of wave technology and decide whether newer technologies will take shape or form a mere ripple in the United States and outside of Europe, where the technology is employed effectively.
Strengths and Benefits of the Tidal Wave Industry
Concurrently, tidal wave energy has some great benefits that cannot be denied. First of all, tidal waves are more predictable than wind energy. Next, wave turbines do not pose a threat to marine wildlife and could positively impact ocean bio-diversity. In addition, wave energy is the ultimate renewable source since the energy develops through the movement of the water that creates turbine movement. The predictability of the tides means that companies that produce energy from tidal forces can forecast energy output. In contrast, the oil drillers and natural gas hunters throughout Oklahoma and Texas must constantly spend time and money looking for new energy sources. These companies face serious economic consequences if they miss and do not find the reserves they predicted would be present. Indeed, marine turbines are not threats to marine wildlife. The turbines do not spin quickly, rather, they spin quite slowly thus meaning that Flipper and Shamu will be unaffected. The turbines may actually have the effect of creating artificial reefs throughout the oceans and could be designed for that purpose. The net result of turbines in the above scenario would lead to increased wildlife diversity while not depleting the Earth's natural resources, e.g. through coal mining, uranium mining, plus oil and gas exploration through land and offshore drilling. The fact is that while the Earth's natural resources are depleted by mining and exploration operations on a daily basis, the melting of polar icecaps creates more water every second of every day.
Certainly, a strong policy push toward alternative energies gives water energy the recognition as a viable renewable energy resource. Growing financing opportunities resulting from economies rebounding from recession create the viability of tidal power when combined with tax incentives similar to those given to oil and natural gas explorers and developers. Thus, tidal power makes economic sense, not to mention the common sense behind utilizing the tides to make electricity similar to that of using the energy of the Sun. While oil and gas resources are limited, the Sun's energy is unlimited. So long as the Earth spins around the Sun, the tides will be equally predictable which creates costs that are predictable, and an energy source that is reliable.