Integrating large-scale wave energy into the energy grid will prove comparatively simple, thanks to its steady and reliable generation of energy, especially when compared to the inherent variability of renewable energy generation techniques like wind and solar.
A new analysis published in the journal Renewable Energy confirmed what many have already believed, that wave energy will encounter fewer problems when being integrated into existing energy grids, experiencing less variability — which can be reduced even further when wave energy production is spread out over a larger geographic area.
“Whenever any new form of energy is added, a challenge is to integrate it into the system along with the other sources,” said Ted Brekken, an associate professor and renewable energy expert in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University.
“By producing wave energy from a range of different sites, possibly with different types of technology, and taking advantage of the comparative consistency of the wave resource itself, it appears that wave energy integration should be easier than that of wind energy. The reserve, or backup generation, necessary for wave energy integration should be minimal.”
Wave energy has come under the microscope lately, thanks in part to questions asked by Bloomberg New Energy Finance Chief Editor, Angus McCrone. Back in early December of 2014, McCrone asked the question, how much trouble is ocean power worth?
Appearing on Bloomberg’s “The Pulse,” McCrone pointed to several ocean power companies who had folded for financial reasons as proof that this particular renewable energy technique may not be the most successful.
“Only a few companies remain with financial backing and promising projects, and more casualties are likely,” said Angus McCrone at the time.
“This is the capitalist survival-of-the-fittest process working as normal in any new market area,”McCrone said. “It also reflects the fact that venture capital investors have become much more realistic about the difficulties involved in proving a new power technology in the harsh environment of the sea.”
Wave energy has a long way to come before successful integration into an existing energy grid of large-scale development is even an issue. Regular funding for successful projects is still some way off, and the many kinks still inherent in the technology need to be smoothed out.