Think about it, the ocean is moving 24/7/365. Between the waves and the tides, there is a constant source of renewable energy being generated, but not being harvested. “Generating technologies for deriving electrical power from the ocean include tidal power, wave power, ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), ocean currents, ocean winds and salinity gradients.
Of these, the three most well-developed technologies are tidal power, wave power and ocean thermal energy conversion. Tidal power requires large tidal differences which, in the U.S., occur only in Maine and Alaska. Ocean thermal energy conversion is limited to tropical regions, such as Hawaii, and to a portion of the Atlantic coast. Wave energy has a more general application, with potential along the California coast. The western coastline has the highest wave potential in the U.S.; in California, the greatest potential is along the northern coast.
California has more than 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) of coastline, and the combined average annual deep water wave power flux is over 37,000 megawatts (MW) of which an upper limit of about 20 percent could be converted into electricity. This is sufficient for about 23 percent of California’s current electricity consumption. However, economics, environmental impacts, land-use and grid interconnection constraints will likely impose further limits to how much of the resource can be extracted.