wave and tidal
The current cost of energy from tidal and wave energy projects has been estimated to be in the range of 15-55 cents/kWh, and for initial tidal stream farms in the range of 11-22 cents/kWh. For future plants, generation costs of 10-25cents/kWh are expected by 2020, with dynamic growth following the same pattern as wind energy.
Ocean energy, particularly offshore wave power, is a significant resource which could satisfy an important percentage of electricity supply worldwide. Globally, the potential for ocean energy has been estimated at enough to generate around 90,000 TWh/year. The most significant advantages are its vast availability and high predictability, plus technology with very low visual impact and no CO2 emissions. Many different concepts and devices have been developed, with some at an advanced phase of research and development; large scale prototypes have been deployed in real sea conditions and some have reached pre-market deployment. A number of these are grid connected, fully operational generating plants.
Future areas for development will include concept design, optimisation of the device configuration, reduction of capital costs by exploring the use of alternative structural materials, economies of scale and learning from operation. According to the latest research findings, the learning factor is estimated to be 10-15% for offshore wave and 5-10% for tidal stream. In the medium term, ocean energy has the potential to become one of the most competitive and cost effective forms of generation. Present cost estimates are based on analysis from the European NEEDS project.
employment in wave and tidal energy Under the Reference scenario, this innovative clean technology would only employ approximately 1,000 people. Under the Energy [R]evolution projections, however, it would become a new entrant to the energy market, providing around 60,000 jobs in the basic scenario and 160,000 jobs in the advanced version by 2030.