U.S. Cities Eye Ocean Waves for Power Supplies



This source of power is not effective for supplying large areas with energy. It works best in areas where there are one tidal switch during each day. That single tidal switch has to be around 10 feet also.

The tidal scheme isn’t viable for lots of areas, but deriving energy from waves is a horrifyingly real prospect almost everywhere.

Call me Chicken Little, but I have a feeling that what dams did to river rafting, wave energy conversion devices will do to surfing. There’s lots about this on the web, just google “wave energy”, etc. I can see having to negotiate “free swell passage corridors” to places we like to surf, stagnant lagoon like littoral zones deprived of swell, and off limit areas where energy collection takes place. Kind of like what they wanted to do to Cojo with LPG.

Reminds me of a science fiction story about a smog covered planet of really clever little trolls who can make anything, but their planet is a mess. A mote in God’s eye or something like that. Pretty soon someone will come up with the Christo inspired plan to layer the Pacific with piezo electric fabric so that we can drive to Japan and collect energy at the same time.

A few months ago Surfer’s Path had an article about wind power which would utilize propellor driven generators mounted on towers (I believe they have these up near San Francisco). One problem with this power source is finding suitable land for setting up the towers.

One solution would be to erect these towers in offshore areas. The article discussed the effect this might have on waves. This might disrupt not only surfing but also the currents needed to replenish sand to beaches and creatures living in tidal zones (which depend upon the crash and splash of the waves in the tidal zone).

The bottom line is that there are always trade-offs. Alternative energy sources such as wind and tidal power would help in preventing/undoing the harmful effects of global warming but, at the same time could have other negative environmental effects.

As oceans levels rise around the world thanks to global warming we can kiss many surf spots goodbye (of course, at the same time others will undoubtedly appear to take their place!).