Pandodyssey™ Panda Blog

This is a blog devoted to Giant Panda enthusiasts, environmental wanna-bes and peace loving funimals, world-wide.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Wave Hello To the New Kid On the Block

The Seattle Times reports that test buoys will be deployed in a matter of weeks off the coast of Oregon, the first wave power technology test of this scale to be conducted to date in the US.

Wave power is like the newborn baby of the renewable energy kindergarten class. It's new and shiny and holds incredible, yet to be unleashed, potential. It's promise is great, with some experts estimating that, if done right, wave energy output could well exceed that of wind power. However waves are also one of the more difficult energies to harness. While the energy in waves and tides is enormous, storing it and transporting it is the key hurdle to wave technology proliferation. At present, the costs of R&D in wave technology are huge in comparison to the rest of the renewable energy class. The upfront costs of installation and investment in wave technology also presents a significant hurdle to a technology that is new and untested.

Opponents remain unconvinced that wave power is the wave (har) of the future. Fishermen worry that they will have to negotiate large buoy fields in order to reach their fishing grounds, or will be barred from fishing their prime spots altogether. Conservationists - you'd think they'd be on board right? - worry that an infrastructure of wave buoys connected by underground cables could impede ocean life and entangle certain migratory species like whales.

All in all, consensus seems to be that we just don't know what potential wave technology holds, and even its detractors are not adamant in their opposition to the technology. Rather, they are raising their concerns about its potential negative impact, giving wave tech proponents the opportunity to develop it with their cooperation. A couple of companies to be on the lookout for are Ocean Power Technology and Finavera Renewables Ocean Energy. These will be the guys who will be at the forefront of all that is wave.

This is truly exciting stuff! I can't wait to see how this technology evolves and where it could lead us. Wave technology might just evolve into the alma mater of the entire renewable energy class.

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