The Power of the Deep Blue Sea

Researchers are exploring ways to convert the ocean's immense power into clean, usable electricity. They include:

  • Wave technologies, which seek to capture the power of breaking waves. There are several methods – floating or pitching devices placed on the surface of the water; oscillating water columns that power an air-driven turbine; and wave surge or "focusing" devices on shore that channel waves into an elevated reservoir.
  • Tidal energy technologies, which extract energy from bidirectional tidal flows.  Some of these technologies use dams at openings of tidal basins. As the tide rises, water flows in. When the sea level drops, water from the dammed area is released, and hydropower generates electricity.
  • Ocean thermal conversion, which seeks to convert the vast amount of heat the ocean absorbs every day from the sun into electricity. This heat is equal to that produced by approximately 250 billion barrels of oil every day.

 

 

Surveying the Sound
Although the wave energy on Connecticut’s shores is limited in comparison to that of other coastal states, opportunities exist for wave and tidal technologies. The challenge is to make use of the moderate wave action while also benefiting from the protection provided by Long Island. For example, there are opportunities to take advantage of the strong underwater currents along Long Island Sound.