Jun 03 2010
The global demand for energy is predicted to continue to grow (Figure 1)1 as a result of the increasing human population and the accompanying rise in development and the consumption of resources. The global demand for energy has historically been met by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels1. However, the supply of coal, natural gas, and oil is limited2 (Table 1), and fossil fuel-based energy generation results in negative environmental and human health consequences, including climate change and pollution of our air, water, and land3.
Figure 1. World marketed energy use by fuel type, 1980-2030.
Ocean-based renewable energy offers vast stores of energy to meet all or most of the demand for energy worldwide6. It also has the potential to minimize transmission losses since almost half of the world’s human population lives within 200 km of coastlines7. Renewable energy generating technologies that harness the energy stored in the ocean in the form of tides, waves, currents, and heat are gaining increasing attention but currently account for only a small percentage of energy generated globally. As offshore and near-shore renewable energy generating technologies are developed and installed, we have the opportunity to avoid the mistakes of the past where environmental concerns were not considered and mitigated as an integral part of the fossil fuel-based energy system.
Courtesy of swisscan
Student participants in ENST 482: Coastal Energy and the Environment (UNC-Chapel Hill; hosted by the UNC Coastal Studies Institute, Wanchese, NC) research coastal energy generating technologies and/or the environmental impacts of harnessing coastal and ocean energy during a class taught on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The results of their research efforts are contained in this website.
The descriptions of the technologies and case studies of specific installations along with considerations for environmental impacts can be accessed through the top and right side menus. The blog allows them to share their thoughts about renewable energy since the completion of the course and provides a platform for your thoughts about their research efforts and renewable energy. We would love to hear from you!
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3. Jacobson MZ. 2009. Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security. Energy and Environmental Science 2:148-173.
4. British Petroleum. 2008. (cited 2010 June 3). Review by energy type. (Internet). Available from: http://www.bp.com/multipleimagesection.do?categoryId=9023754&contentId=7044554.
5. Johnson, T. 2010. (cited 2010 June 2). Global Uranium Supply and Demand. (Internet) Council on Foreign Relations. Available from: http://www.cfr.org/publication/14705/.
6. European Ocean Energy Association. 2010. (cited 2010 June 3). About Ocean Energy. (Internet). European Ocean Energy Association. Available from: http://www.eu-oea.com/index.asp?sid=74.
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10. Ernst and Young. 2009. Cost of and financial support for offshore wind: A report for the Department of Energy and Climate Change. London, UK. 29pp.
11. 2010 (cited 2010 May 19). How it Works. (Internet). Australia: Oceanlinx. Available from: http://www.oceanlinx.com/index.php/our-technology/how-it-works.
12. Dalton, G.J. et al. 2010. Case Study Feasibility Analysis of the Pelamis Wave Energy Converter in Ireland, Portugal and North America. Renewable Energy 35(2): 443-455.
13. BBC News. 2008.
14. University of Maine. 2007. (cited 2010 May 10). Tidal turbine cost estimation research. (Internet) Available from: http://www.umaine.edu/mecheng/Peterson/Classes/Design/2007_8/Project_webs/Tidal_test/pdf/Tidal%20Turbine%20Cost%20Estimation%20Research%202.pdf.
15. 2010 (cited 2010 May 16). 10MW OTEC Power Plant wins TU Delft Design Challenge. (Internet). Netherlands: EcoBoot. Available from: http://www.ecoboot.nl/ecoboot_new/?p=3.
16. 2010 (cited 2010 May 25). Technology. (Internet). Belgium: European Ocean Energy Association. Available from: http://www.eu-oea.com/index.asp?bid=425.
17. Ocean Power Technologies. 2009. Available from: Oceanpowertechnologies.com.
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19. Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Gulf Stream Ocean Current Electricity Project. FR Doc E4-842.
20. Avery William H., Wu Chih. 1994. Renewable Energy From the Ocean. New York (NY): Oxford University Press. 449 p.
21. Marine Current Turbines Ltd. 2010. The Seagen Turbine. <http://www.marineturbines.com>.
22. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 2009. Coastal Wind: Energy for North Carolina’s Future. North Carolina General Assembly report. 371 pp.
23. 2010 (cited 2010 May 25). Wave Energy. (Internet). Wikipedia. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_power.
25. Luettich, RA Jr, JV Reynolds-Fleming, JE McNinch, and CP Buzzelli. 2000. “Circulation characteristics of the Neuse River Estuary, North Carolina” Estuaries (20 April, 2000).
26. Bahaj AS, Myers LE. 2003. Fundamentals applicable to the utilisation of marine current turbines for energy production. Renewable Energy 28:2205–2211.
27. Tester, et al. Ocean Waves, Tide, and Thermal Energy Conversion. Sustainable Energy: Choosing Among Options. Cambridge(MA): The MIT Press. p. 599-606.