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Review on The Ocean Current Energy

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Most modern-day electricity is elsewise known as secondary energy, meaning that it is a combination of fossil fuels, nuclear fuel, and renewable energy. Renewable energy sources include, wind, hydro, solar, and geothermal (2 Sharif). Fossil fuels, cause a substantial amount of pollution, which in turn causes, public health damage, habitat and wildlife loss, and emissions of global warming. Renewable energy is the safer option that few major corporations take advantage of. Due to population, more electricity is a necessity; which has an impact on how we can use renewable energy. Relying on primarily weather, renewable energy is limited by our climate. For example, hydro power, is generated by rain supply.

However, ocean current power “hydro-power”, is the innovation of the century. Creating this energy would allow coastal cities of, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, and New York City, to decrease their amount of pollution by almost 50%. Our Earth is consumed by 70% of ocean, thus there is energy waiting to be made, and cities ready to be powered (N/A 1).

Wave speeds differ substantially depending on their location. Areas with high energy resources such as north western coasts of America (Alaska), Southern Africa, Australia, northern beaches of Canada, and west Scotland. For ocean wave energy, the wind pushing the waves is measured in gigawatts, whereas the tidal would be measured in terawatts-hour/year. Concluding a recent study, EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) claims that on the global coasts, current produced power is at an astounding 2640 TWh/yr. In a realistic stand point, one TWh/yr, is enough energy to power 93,850 American homes annually. While there is an abundance of energy, not all of it can be harvested due to commercial fishing and naval operations. As for the coastal shelf of the United States of America, we produce 1,170 TWh/yr which is one-third of what American families use per year. Using topography of the ocean floor, researchers are able to understand the influence that weather carries on ocean currents. While currents move at a slower pace than wind, the salt water is 800 times denser than air. Meaning that, if a wave was traveling at 12 miles per hour, it is creating the same amount of energy of wind blowing at 112 mph.

Within the the Persian Gulf, if we were to take 1/1000th of its energy, we would be able to power 35% of Florida’s electrical necessities. Multiple countries including, The United States and Great Britain, are pursuing an understanding of current power. With no commercial grid-lined turbines, researchers find it hard to create prototypes; thus, this is the least mature of any energy resource. Due to the development over the next five to seven years, there should be a commercial grid in use (NOAA 1). Though technical challenges have arose, such as cavitations, marine growth, and corrosion. If any were to effect the grid, the restoration would be very detailed and extremely complex. As for the maintenance, upkeep for the pipes could potentially be high in price. The Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Alternative Energy Development and Production and Alternate Use of Facilities on the Continental Shelf, was sanctioned in 2007.

This document explained the potential harms which renewable energy might cause pertaining to the energy development process (technology testing, site characterization, construction, operation, and decommissioning). For passing months, proposals are being sent off for project analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act.

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