Bobbing in the WavesWave power is a promising source of clean energy, but it is usually overlooked because wind and solar power are farther along. But every journey begins with a single step, and this might just be such a step for wave power in the U.S.: Ocean Power Technologies has just been granted a 35-year license to operate a 1.5-megawatt wave farm about 2.5 miles (4 km) off the coast of Reedsport, Oregon.
The project comprises 10 of the company’s PowerBuoys tethered to the sea bottom which generate power as waves and tides move them up and down. It will generate enough power for about 1,000 homes, according to Ocean Power.
The big question is: Can wave power catch up to wind power (especially offshore) in cost per megawatt-hour, and will it become complementary to other clean energy sources or will it try to compete head on with them (mostly offshore wind)? I suppose that in cases where you'd want to build something within sight of a shore where people live, wave power might be an easier sell since it'd be mostly invisible.