Interest is growing in wave energy as a viable source of renewable electricity generation as the world faces dwindling fossil fuels supplies, an American Institute of Physics release said Monday.
Wave-energy developers, however, face the problem that all previous estimates of wave-energy potential were based on data from deep ocean waters, while "wave-energy generation systems are typically positioned near to shore," Australian physical oceanographer Mark Hemer says.
In a journal article, Hemer and his colleagues have made new estimates of the wave-energy potential of Australia's southern near-shore regions, and have calculated what percentage of the country's energy needs could be supplied by wave energy alone.
Hemer says if 10 percent of the near-shore wave energy available along Australia's Southern coastline could be converted into electricity, it could meet half of the country's present-day annual electricity consumption of 130,000 gigawatt-hours.
Wave energy offers a "massive resource" to contribute to the Australian Government's aim of producing 45,000 gigawatt-hours a year of additional renewable energy before 2020, Hemer said.
"Convert 10 percent of available wave energy from a 1000-km stretch in this area to electricity, " Hemer says, and "the quota could be achieved by wave energy alone."