Global Resources

The earth’s oceans are its circulatory system, transporting physical and thermal energy, moderating temperatures, CO2 levels and most importantly providing a habitable planet. Wave energy is a significant renewable energy resource, as water density is approximately 1000 times greater than that of air, relatively providing much higher energy flux densities, and enabling high energy extraction from smaller devices.

Wave Energy is created as a result of weather variations in heat and pressure, generating winds blowing across a great fetch impinging on the oceans below. Waves can gather and transfer large amounts of energy extremely efficiently.

The map below shows that there are many high wave energy sites located close to high population densities, and the figures represent kilowatts per meter of wave front.

Approximate Global Distribution of Wave Power Levels

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the oceans potentially hold twice the amount of energy the world produces today[1] and the potential global energy production from waves is estimated to amount to 29,500 TWh of electricity.[2]

The International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that by using solely 2 per cent of the world’s 800,000 kilometres of coastline which exceed a wave power density of 30 kW/m, the global technical potential for wave energy is about 500GW of electrical energy, based on a conversion efficiency of 40 per cent.[3]

 

[1] Edenhofer, O., Pichs-Madruga, R., Sokona, Y., Seyboth, K., Matschoss, P., Kadner, S., … & von Stechow, C. (2011) IPCC special report on renewable energy sources and climate change mitigation.

[2] https://academic.oup.com/ce/article/2/1/10/4924611

[3] Ellabban, O., Abu-Rub, H., & Blaabjerg, F. (2014). Renewable energy resources: Current status, future prospects and their enabling technology. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.