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Wave Energy

Citation Thorpe, T. and Wallace, A.R. Wave Energy. Cambridge University Press. 2006.
Author(s) Thorpe, T. and Wallace, A.R.
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Editor Jamasb, T., Nuttall, W.J. and Pollitt M.G.
ISBN 9780521860499
Opus Title New Electricity Technologies for a Sustainable Future
Pages 5.6

In their chapter, Thorpe and Wallace discuss the considerable potential for the generation of electricity from wave energy in certain coastal and off shore locations. A particularly favourable location is off the northern coast of Scotland. The maximum exploitable resource is estimated at around 31 TWh in the UK (or around 7% of present demand). There currently exist working prototypes for the exploitation of onshore wave using oscillating water column (OWC) technology. A variety of off-shore technologies are being explored. These offer the prospect of bigger and less unsightly facilities but have proved more technically challenging. Some of both types have performed successfully for a number of years at a single site. However they remain vulnerable to catastrophic damage during storms and currently suffer from very high capital costs relative to their energy capture. Interest in the technology is increasing, especially in the UK, where government funding is currently among the most 12 generous. The chapter highlights three constraints to further development in the UK. The legacy of the failure of an earlier government supported push in the 1970s, the cost of connection to the electricity grid (which can be up to 50% of the capital cost of new projects) and the difficulty of getting planning permission.