by ClickGreen staff.
Large-scale wave energy systems should be comparatively steady, dependable and able to be integrated into the overall energy grid at lower coststhan some other forms of alternative energy, including wind power, according to new analysis.
The findings confirm what scientists have expected – that wave energy will have fewer problems with variability than some energy sources and that by balancing wave energy production over a larger geographic area, the variability can be even further reduced.
The variability of alternative energy sources is one factor that holds back their wider use – if wind or solar energy decreases and varies widely, then some other energy production has to back it up, and that adds to the overall cost of energy supply.
“Whenever any new form of energy is added, a challenge is to integrate it into the system along with the other sources,” said Ted Brekken, an associate professor and renewable energy expert in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University.
“By producing wave energy from a range of different sites, possibly with different types of technology, and taking advantage of the comparative consistency of the wave resource itself, it appears that wave energy integration should be easier than that of wind energy,” he said. “The reserve, or backup generation, necessary for wave energy integration should be minimal.”