What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Wave Energy?

The advantages of wave energy include abundance and renewability, consistency and predictability, pollution free energy, shoreline protection and lack of interference with aquatic life. The disadvantages of wave energy include intermittent power generation, visual impact of devices, location-reliant devices, and high cost of construction, maintenance and distribution.

Wave energy, also known as ocean wave energy, uses waves generated by wind to produce power, making it easily and continually available. The ability to accurately forecast waves in advance makes it possible to plan and manage electricity production. The production can, however, be irregular as the waves happen in intervals and power generation during calm periods is interrupted. Construction of wave energy plants is limited to specific locations where wave power is sufficient. Installation of various equipment require a huge investment, and distribution liabilities for offshore plants that require long underwater cables to transmit the generated power on the mainland also increase the costs.

Wave energy uses extraction devices that are offshore, shoreline or nearshore. With shoreline systems, the devices are constructed on the shoreline both in and out of the water. Nearshore devices obtain wave energy from the breaker zone, and from the waters surrounding the breaker zone. Offshore devices are constructed in the deeper waters beyond the breaker zone. The devices come in a wide variety of designs that maximize and capture the wave energy. These can either be fixed devices used in shallow waters or fully floating devices.