The Endless Power of the Ocean

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.


Although technology is still at a relatively immature pilot project stage, economic projections indicate that ocean energy could become cost-competitive over the long-term.”


Good News About Clean Ocean Energy

What the heck is OTEC?

SM Beach N.While it may sound like the precursor to yet another huge oil company, nothing could be further from the truth. OTEC stands for Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, which is generated using the difference between the warm surface water and cold deep water of the ocean. The temperature difference can be used to drive a steam cycle that turns a turbine which in turn produces power. When the warm surface sea water passes through a heat exchanger, it vaporizes at a low boiling point which is then funneled into a turbine generator, producing electricity.

Di at Cafe Culture2I used OTEC as the futuristic renewable energy featured in my sci-fi novel “Anti-Vigilante and the Rips in Time”, but I sure hope it won’t take centuries to see it become a viable energy source!