Oceans have the potential to provide a substantial amount of new, renewable energy.
There are currently five distinct technologies for extracting energy from the oceans.
Wave energy converters derive energy from the movement of waves and can be located flexibly – on the shoreline, the nearshore, or offshore at depths of over 100m – to harness the available energy most efficiently.
Current turbines harness the flow of the ocean currents to produce electricity. Current turbines can be fixed directly to and mounted on the seabed, or tethered to the seabed and buoyant, floating on the surface or in mid-water.
The tidal range uses the difference in sea level between high and low tides to create power. Tidal range technology uses the same principles as conventional hydropower and requires a barrier to impound a large body of water, driving turbines generating electricity.
OTEC exploits the temperature difference between deep cold ocean water and warm surface waters to produce electricity via heat exchangers.
Salinity gradient power generation utilizes the difference in salt content between freshwater and saltwater, found in areas such as deltas or fjords.