Written by Jaime Valdez– STARS Analyst & Community Outreach Eco-Rep
Did you know that generating electricity produces 60% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions1? Greenhouse gas emissions heavily contribute to climate change and the overall health of our planet. Now, imagine if I told you that there is a new energy technology that will completely innovate how we produce clean renewable energy for electricity– using ocean waves. If wave energy is harnessed effectively, oceans may be the largest reserve of clean and sustainable energy. There are three companies leading the wave energy movement: Wave Energy Power Take Off System, Eco Wave Power, and Sea Wave Energy, Ltd.
Wave Energy Power Take Off System (WEPTOS) Is a Danish-owned company that was established in 1991 and is the pioneer of the wave energy movement. WEPTOS has had three proofs of concepts from 2007-2020 and is now working on commercializing the technology. One key attribute of the system is its V-shape, which allows it to adjust to varying weather conditions. It will expand its angle during calm weather conditions, allowing for more energy to be produced, and will decrease its angle to protect itself during rough weather. WEPTOS can use the same electricity-generating technology as wind turbines, making it more efficient and cost-effective.
Eco Wave Power
Eco Wave Power (EPW) was founded in Israel in 2011 and is currently the leader of wave energy. The co-founder and CEO of EPW, Inna Braverman, is a leader in breaking down gender norms in the climate change discussion, where women are frustratingly underrepresented. EPW is the first wave energy company to be commercialized and attached to a power grid for the population to utilize, in this case by the communities of Gibraltar. EWP’s system is unique because of its ease to build and operate due to its accessibility on land and proximity to power grid connection points. Additionally, it has no adverse environmental impacts because it is built on existing man-made structures such as piers and breakwaters.
Sea Wave Energy, Ltd.
Sea Wave Energy, Ltd. (SWEL) has been in production and improving their technology since 2007. The device’s unique shape contributes to its adaptable interaction with the waves– rather than solidly opposing waves, the device moves with them, keeping cost and maintenance low. Interestingly, SWEL is a more diverse wave energy company than the previous ones– not only are they attempting to generate clean energy, but they are also using it for desalination and coastal erosion prevention. SWEL plans to deploy their technology where electricity and clean water are needed.
Nearly 2.4 billion people, about 40% of the global population, live within 60 miles of a coast2. This means that wave energy can provide clean sustainable energy for a large portion of the population. As the world transitions to be more electricity-dependent, it is important that we continue to explore new sustainable energy resources to sustain us– without poisoning us or the environment.
In fact, reducing pollution and climate impacts on the world can save the world up to $4.2 trillion per year by 2030 3. Having more sustainable energy may also result in a better economic future by creating job opportunities and lowering the price of electricity. In short, wave energy should not be seen as a competitor to other renewable energy sources but should be seen as an asset. Clean, reliable, and renewable energy is important to have a healthy and sustainable future.
1 UN Climate Action: Generating Power