Emerging Industry Overview: Ocean Energy

Industry Snapshot

Ocean energy refers to the energy carried by ocean waves, tides, salinity, and the ocean temperatures. Although relatively new and still under development, ocean energy is said to be the next hope for replacing our reliance upon fuel energy within the next 20 years. This change in energy source requires intellectual capital as research and development by energy companies progresses enough to create machinery, processes, and energy output to replace fuel or natural gas outputs. However, hopes are that ocean energy may bring in thousands of jobs over the next decade. This will occur as R&D and technology improve, allowing us to harness the power of gale force winds and ocean waves to give power to electrical grids and a better way to conserve our nonrenewable resources.

Ocean energy may utilize temperatures in or above ocean waves to produce energy. It may also use the motion of the open sea to generate energy. From Ocean Energy in Ireland, a company that has been testing an Ocean Energy buoy in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland for the past seven years, the idea of wave action to generate energy seems well within reach to replace all energy consumption on the west coast of Ireland by 2020. Hawaii's Natural Energy Laboratory has been studying the use of thermal energy production from the Pacific Ocean temperatures since 1994. A tidal energy plant in France makes enough energy to power 240,000 homes.