Homes Powered by Ocean Waves Now Possible

September 26, 2016

Two buoys floating in Kaneohe Bay were plugged into Oahu, Hawaii’s energy grid recently delivering the first-wave generated power.

The buoys convert the wave motion into power. It acts similar to how energy is produced from wind turbines, but that uses air currents instead.

The floating generators can produce about 22 kilowatts of energy, which is enough to power 14 homes, CBS News reports.  

The Hawaiian prototype could offer a new way of delivering electricity to power homes and buildings, particularly to coastal regions. Hawaii has the highest electricity costs in the nation, and has a mandate to move 100 percent of its energy from renewables by 2045.

Wind and solar sources have several decades of advancement over wave-made power. But the government has invested about $334 million in wave energy over the past decade.

Jose Zayas, director at the U.S. Department of Energy, believes that the U.S. could one day generate up to 20 to 28 percent of its energy from the ocean.

“When you think of all the states that have water along their coasts … there’s quite a bit of wave energy potential,” Zayas says.

Still, it could be another five to 10 years before wave energy technology becomes more accessible and affordable, experts told CBS. Companies now need to make sure the machines can withstand powerful storms and the constant pounding of the ocean waves.

Source: “Wave-Powered Electricity Makes U.S. Debut in Hawaii,” CBS News (Sept. 19, 2016)