Wave and tidal drawing new interest from investors

Despite higher costs than many forms of renewable energy, marine-based energy projects are drawing increasing interest from investors and governments, according to The New York Times.

Tidal power and wave generation both draw energy from the movements of the ocean, the former by using the rush of water as tides change and the latter by harnessing the rise and fall of water in waves.

Each approach faces its own difficulties with high costs and other concerns. Tidal power requires either potentially environmentally damaging tidal dams, or extremely durable underwater turbines. Companies investing in wave power have developed numerous different technologies, but no particular approach has emerged as a clear winner in terms of cost, output and environmental impact.

However, British Parliament Member Tim Yeo explains that these technologies have seen more investments from large companies, like Siemens and Rolls Royce in the past few years.

"I'm optimistic in the medium term, I'm not necessarily optimistic in the short term," Angus McCrone, chief editor at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, told the Times. "There will be a shakeout and there will be casualties, and because of that, there will be negative publicity before there's positive publicity."

In July, Energy Secretary Steven Chu recognized the nation’s first commercial, grid-connected tidal energy project off the coast of Eastport, Maine. The project, implemented by Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC), aims to bring capacity to 4 megawatts within four years.

A report on wave and tidal power is available at PennEnergy's Research area.

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