Jun 03 2010


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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!




1.  Energy Information Administration. 2010. International Energy Outlook 2010-Highlights DOE/EIA-0484(2010). Energy  Information Administration, Washington, DC.

2.  MacKenzie J. 1998. Oil as a finite resource. Natural Resources Research 7:97-100.

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.

7.  Creel L. 2003. Ripple effects: population and coastal regions, pp. 8 Making the Link. Population Reference Bureau, Washington, DC.

8.  USEIA. 2010. (cited 2010 June 3). Summary statistics for the US. (Internet). US Energy Information Administration. Available from: http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/epates.html.

9.  World Nuclear Association. 2009. “The Economics of Nuclear Power”. Information and Issue Briefs. World Nuclear Association. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-01.

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.

18.  Alcoa. 1997.

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.

24. www.pelamiswave.com

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.

461 responses so far

461 Responses to “Intro”

  1.   Barry Dubbson 09 Jun 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Lindsay and class, an incredible amount of information is posted on this site. I am struggling to understand much of it since the scientific part of my brain may have atrophied since the days of immersing myself in the teaching of science have long passed. I look forward to visiting the site again to digest more of the ideas and research presented …. this should keep me busy and out of trouble for awhile. I would have loved to have been part of this class since it reminded me of the days of hanging on to every word that came out of Dr. Trembley’s mouth during my graduate studies at Lehigh University back in the early ’70’s.

  2.   panda softon 22 Aug 2010 at 1:06 pm

    The purpose of your website can be great for my students. A lot of great resources are free in here. Initially, I have introduced your website to my students in my class, so don’t be confused if your website hits are increase dramatically. I discuss many topics, still debating in every aspect that can be debated, and at the end of my class (every week), I told them about the conclusion of your topic. Hot topic and atmosphere can be fun here. And then, you might be surprised that my students got new story every day, and also all of them can express their idea in home and school. Especially they told to her/his mom/dad, that they learnt many topics from teacher that learnt from you. Surprisingly that everyone wants to get new challenge in your idea, and then when I give new topic, it can be challenging for all of my students.

  3.   keurig-b60.infoon 30 Nov 2011 at 8:23 pm

    I cannot believe I didn’t see the post earlier…good post and I look forward to what you have to share in the future.

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  5.   Sherrie Walshon 17 Feb 2012 at 4:16 am

    This was very well said and I see has generated some good dialogue.

  6.   PC Helpon 27 Feb 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Great video and tables. Really amazing and interesting 🙂

  7.   Rich Scherlitzon 09 Mar 2012 at 8:56 pm

    It’s great to see renewable energy on the rise in your chart. I think that as people get more comfortable with these technologies you’ll see them used even more. Look at plugin hybrid vehicles for example. When the Volt was first launched, everyone was critical. Now that the Prius is coming out this month with its version it like the iPad of cars. Going to be awesome!

  8.   http://www.video-faciale.comon 10 May 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Is your .edu blog on WordPress ?

  9.   Johnathan Peachayon 03 Nov 2012 at 1:56 am

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  10.   Niki Koleon 04 Feb 2013 at 9:21 am

    Hi, I think that nuclear power is a great source of energy. Especially when hydrogen is used, it’s indefinite. Modern technology will make it safe and cheap…

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  12.   Augustaon 12 May 2013 at 12:15 am

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging
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  13.   link building packageon 18 May 2013 at 5:25 am

    Fantastic blog you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any community forums that cover
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  14.   ldubbson 18 May 2013 at 3:03 pm

    I don’t know of any community forums that address renewable ocean energy but if I happen upon one, I will certainly post it here. I would appreciate if you would do the same. Thanks!

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  21.   Lachat Instructoron 29 May 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Hey Lindsey,
    I am setting up my student blog and have gotten fantastic feedback on the idea. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Not only do I like the your instructional advice, but I find your topic on Ocean Energy Generation fascinating. I have been an advocate of the Hydrogen Economy for ages. With Ocean Energy Generation you can take this variable energy source and store it indefinitely in the form of Hydrogen fuel. Use it in fuel cells and you get back pure water. Just need to figure out how to deal with the chlorine generated. Got any ideas?

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