Making Waves Beyond the Ocean

Solar, wind, and geothermal are all sources of renewable energy that are frequently talked about. But here’s something you might not hear about all the time- wave power. In addition to surfers and tourists being drawn to the waves in Hawaii, waves are now being tested as a source of electricity through a new Hawaii Wave Power Project. As 70% of the earth’s surface is covered in water, researchers are assessing this relatively untapped source of clean, renewable energy that the oceans could offer. Wave length, height, speed, and water density are all being evaluated during this process. Seeing that Hawaii has some of the most powerful waves in the world, it’s evident that this is an ideal spot for testing.

The wave energy device called Azura, has recently launched from concept to grid- connected in Kaneohe Bay, on the island of Oahu. The U.S. Department of Energy sites that “This pilot testing is now giving U.S. researchers the opportunity to monitor and evaluate the long-term performance of the nation’s first grid-connected wave energy converter (WEC) device to be independently tested by a third party—the University of Hawaii—in the open ocean.”

The introduction of new technology is always exciting.  However, there are many things to consider such as, even though Hawaii has great wave power, it is also rich with wildlife and the environment will need to be carefully watched during this project. Wave power now, may be where wind power was 20 or 30 years ago, so we will continue to watch this trend as there is still a sufficient amount of evaluation to come!

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