Curiosity and controversy over wave potential power arise
February 9, 2012
California’s Central Coast has the second largest wave potential power in the nation, falling second only to the state of Alaska, according to a new study conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). [MontereyCountyWeekly]
Atmocean Incorporated founder Phil Kithil studied the San Luis Obispo coastline last year, searching for more eco-friendly ways of producing power. The study focused on a particular method called wave energy sequestration technology, which involves hydraulic pressure being sent through a water wheel which then drives a generator.
“We got quite a bit more output than we expected,” Kithil said.
Paul Jacobson, an EPRI project manager, even suggests that if tapped into, the ocean in the Central Coast area could provide 21 gigawatts of wave energy each year. That’s enough to run about 21 nuclear power plants.
While the results of these studies sound promising, it is unlikely that much wave power will be produced in the near future. The information is primarily for theoretical purposes, say study researchers, citing the many potential dangers of wave power.