Wave-Wind Synergy: A Way Back to the Top

DN Staff

January 12, 2007

1 Min Read
Wave-Wind Synergy: A Way Back to the Top

In previous posts, I mentioned wind power, wave power, and the balance between the needs of the environment and civilization’s demand for energy. While researching my wind and wave pieces, I noticed a substantial overlap in Earth’s wind resources and wave resources. This confluence is not surprising: high-velocity wind shears the ocean surface kicking up larger, more powerful waves.

If waves and wind come pairs, why is there no ongoing effort to develop hybrid wind/wave generation plants? This concept has already been suggested elsewhere, but I cannot find any evidence of action taken to implement it.

Once the commitment is made to drive a wind turbine boom into the ocean floor, the tower should be exploited to the maximum economically-feasible extent. Augmenting ocean wind power structures to extract wave energy would maximize both environmental and monetary returns. At the very least, wind towers could be used to moor Pelamis-style wave farms, sharing lines to deliver electrons to shore. Better design could identify techniques to integrate wave energy generators directly into wind towers.

By piggybacking on mature wind technology, there is an opportunity here for the US to climb back on top of the wave-power market. Hybrid wind/wave farms could leapfrog the wave-only installations being pioneered in Europe and Australia, speeding commercialization and maturity of promising wave energy technologies.

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