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Economic and Social Benefits from Wave Energy Conversion Marine Technology

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This paper summarizes the energy resource, the energy conversion technology, and the economic and social benefits of using wave energy technology. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) estimates that the U.S. wave resource potential that could credibly be harnessed is about 6.5% of the 2004 U.S. national electricity energy demand (the total 2004 demand was about 4,000 TWh). Wave energy conversion (WEC) is an emerging technology; ten WEC devices have been tested to date in natural waters worldwide over the past 10 years. The economic opportunities are significant. A relatively minor investment by government in the public good today could stimulate a worldwide industry generating billions of dollars of economic output and employing thousands of people, while using an abundant and clean natural resource to meet our energy needs. Wave energy is potentially more easily assimilated into the grid (compared to wind and solar) because it may be more accurately predictable two to three days ahead and sold as firm power. Given proper care in siting, deployment, operations, maintenance and decommissioning, wave power promises to be one of the most environmentally benign electrical generation technologies. The primary barrier to the development and use of these technologies in the U.S. is the cumbersome regulatory process. We recommend and encourage the development of an effective regulatory system that fosters the application of this environmentally friendly electricity generation technology for our society.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2007

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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