Wave energy is captured directly from surface waves or from pressure fluctuations below the ocean surface. Wave power varies considerably in different parts of the world, making it more economically feasible to harness in some parts than in others, hence making wave energy a region-specific energy source. For example, strong winds variations are observed within the band between 30 and 60 degrees latitude, and circumpolar storms near the southern latitudes, which account for high-energy ocean waves in those areas (IEA, 2008). Similarly it has been observed that annual wave power distribution is greater on the western coasts of temperate countries (IPCC, 2011). For instance in the figure, offshore average annual wave power distribution is highlighted. It can be seen from the figure that the largest power levels occur off the west coasts of the continents in temperate latitudes, where the most energetic winds and greatest fetch areas occur. Wave energy is predictable, because satellites can measure waves out in the ocean that will later impact on devices around the coast. This predictability will allow for less spinning reserve than is often required to support more intermittent renewable energy sources (WEC, 2007).
From collection: Green Economy in a Blue World - Full Report