Wave energy for Hawaii now a real possibility

Ocean Energy wave energy buoy, with turbine above water.

Ocean Energy in Ireland is teaming with Vigor Engineering in Portland to build an 826 ton wave energy turbine that will be tested in Hawaii after three years of testing similar devices in the Atlantic. Oceans are punishing places. Gale force storms and corrosion from salt can destroy machinery.

Hawaii imports much of its energy and plans to be 100% island-based renewable energy. If wave energy can work on grid-scale they will be much closer to that goal.

The platform has three open underwater chambers. Water pushed by waves enters and forces air upwards to power the turbine. When the water recedes, it create a vacuum and air rushes in. There is only one moving part. The turbine moves in the same direction continually through the entire process.

Triple Pundit on Hawaii going renewable.

This year, Hawaii seeks to prove that wave power can help electrify the remote, energy-strapped islands. Residents and businesses across the state have long been frustrated by high electricity costs, and occasional reliance on diesel-powered generators also hurt the state’s air quality. Add the fact these sources of power have to be hauled to Hawaii across long distances, and it is easy to understand the state’s quest to become energy independent.

In 2015, Hawaii’s government announced a long-term plan to run entirely on renewables by mid-century. The state has been edging closer to that goal, and by most accounts it’s leading all U.S. states in just about every single clean energy category. Nevertheless, plenty of hurdles, frustrations and setbacks remain.

Wave power could provide another step toward achieving Hawaii’s renewable energy goals.

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