Can renewable energy sources power the world?
Can renewable energy sources power the world?

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5 Environmental impact of wave energy technology

Wave energy converters should be among the most environmentally benign of energy technologies for the following reasons:

  1. They have little potential for chemical pollution. At most, they may contain some lubricating or hydraulic oil, which will be carefully sealed from the environment.
  2. They have little visual impact, except where shore-mounted.
  3. Noise generation is likely to be low – generally lower than the noise of crashing waves
  4. They should present a small (though not insignificant) hazard to shipping.
  5. They should present no difficulties to migrating fish.
  6. Floating schemes are incapable of extracting more than a small fraction of the energy of storms so will not significantly influence the coastal environment. A scheme such as a new breakwater incorporating a wave energy device will provide coastal protection but may result in changes to the coastline. And concrete structures will need to be removed at the end of their operating life.
  7. It is estimated that near-shore wave energy schemes will release (e.g. from construction and material transport) some 11 g of CO2, 0.03 g of SO2 and 0.05 g of NOx for each kWh of electricity generated (Thorpe, 1992). This makes them very attractive in comparison to conventional UK coal, gas and nuclear plants. Thus wave energy could make a significant contribution in meeting climate change and acid rain targets.

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