Wave power is a form of alternative energy which harnesses the natural movements of the world's oceans. In the late 1990s, a number of firms began to explore the possibility of wave power, and in the early 2000s, a number of experimental installations were made around the world to see how feasible wave power could be. It is believed that if harnessed correctly, wave power could generate massive amounts of electricity which could be used to do things like run desalination plants, power water treatment facilities, and power homes and businesses for consumers. As a result of early success, several nations became more invested in the idea.
The concept takes advantage of the already abundant energy in the ocean, which manifests in the rise and fall of water in the form of waves. One of the easiest ways to capture this energy is through a simple air chamber. As the waves rise and fall in the chamber, they force air through the top, spinning a turbine which can be used in electricity generation. These chambers can be mounted on the shoreline, or they can be located out at sea in the form of large floating buoys.
There are a number of significant advantages to wave power which make it quite appealing to fans of alternative energy. The first is that wave power is a truly renewable energy source, since it takes advantage of already occurring natural processes. In addition, wave power is relatively low cost once facilities are installed, and especially if it is used locally, the cost of moving the power around are fairly minimal as well. Wave power facilities also would not take up valuable land, as is the case with solar arrays and wind farms.
There are also some concerns about wave power, although most of these concerns are aesthetic. Critics claim that people will find the appearance of wave power facilities unpleasant, and that this form of power generation could ruin many excellent views. Wave power will only succeed in certain high energy areas of the ocean, and many of these areas are also beautiful and popular vacation spots. Critics are also concerned about the noise, which could be significant. In addition to disrupting human life, the noise might also be distracting for animals which call the ocean home.
Many of the concerns about wave energy are valid, but proponents of the technology hope that the benefits will ultimately outweigh these concerns. Many major energy companies seem to agree, since a number of companies have invested in significant research on wave energy. Governments have also promoted the technology as a green alternative to other methods of electricity generation.