Wave and Tidal Energy Key Terms
Understand the terminology of wave and tidal energyWith the emergence of wave and tidal energy, key terms will help you understand the latest developments. Vast amounts of untapped energy exist in waves and tides. It is a clean and renewable source of electricity. Compared with other sources we are currently using, the environmental impact is relatively low. The cost per kilowatt hour to maintain production can be as low as a few pennies. Currently, the major obstacle to more widespread use of wave and tidal energy is the cost of constructing equipment that converts the kinetic energy of waves and tides into electrical energy.
Wave energy converters
Hydroelectric damA hydroelectric damn works to turn a turbine by using water flowing from a high elevation to a lower elevation. Large rivers with sharp elevation drops are the ideal locations for hydroelectric dams.
U.S. Geological Survey gives a detailed description explaining how hydroelectric dams work.
Kilowatt hourKilowatt hour, abbreviated kWh, is 1000 watts of electricity used in one hour. This is how utilities measure and bill electricity. Beyond construction costs, wave and tidal energy offers a very low cost per kilowatt hour.
Underwater electric kitesLow-impact turbines, also called underwater electric kites, sit on the bottom of the ocean and harness wave energy without harming marine life or producing toxic byproducts.
Vertical underwater turbine axisThe vertical underwater turbine axis acts almost like a windmill underwater, with ocean waves turning it rather than wind.
Tidal fenceA tidal fence looks like a giant turnstile as it gathers energy from ocean surface waves. It can stretch across a narrow channel or strait.
U.S. Department of Energy offers an overview of tidal fences and other equipment used in harnessing tidal energy.
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