Swell Power

The next wave of clean energy will be breaking near you

Mar 23, 2007
Outside Magazine
Wave Energy


HERE'S ONE MORE reason to pray for surf: Wave energy from U.S. waters could someday meet 7 percent of the country's current electricity demand, according to the Electric Power Research Institute, a Palo Alto, California–based nonprofit. That's roughly the same amount produced by all of our hydroelectric dams. But unlike dams, wave-energy converters, which harness wave motion to generate electricity, are installed either on the seafloor or as floating buoys miles offshore, meaning that they generally can't be seen from land and don't disrupt the environment. While Europe has had wave systems online since 2003, they're just reaching the U.S., with projects slated for Hawaii, California, Washington, Rhode Island, and Oregon, where New Jersey–based Ocean Power Technologies has filed an application to install enough 50-ton buoys to power 50,000 homes. Too bad Vegas is so far from the ocean.

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