The World Energy Council just named Australia’s southern shores the world’s most promising site for the development of wave power. Australia has a goal of reducing their emissions by 60 percent of year 2000 levels by 2050. The World Energy Council noted that if Aussies developed just 10% of the country’s viable wave power sites they could meet their quota. That means that if just 20% of the possible wave power sites in Australia were developed, the whole country could be run entirely by the sea.

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Though the country hasn’t done the due diligence on how much a project of that size would cost financially — we’re guessing it is a pretty steep price tag — the environmental benefits could be huge — as long as the wave power was installed carefully so as not to disturb the surrounding marine life. Mark Hemer, a physical oceanographer from Australia’s CSIRO Wealth for Oceans National research flagship did a study with his colleague, David Griffin, in the AIP’s Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy to completely flesh out the potential of the Australian waves. Hemmer and Griffen found that Australia’s energy consumption is 130,000 gigawatt-hours/year and that it could be covered with only a small portion of viable wave power areas.

In their study, the team does not push Australia to generate all of their energy from wave power (though we say go for it, if you only need to develop 20% of the viable sites), but they are strong proponents of using this “massive resource” as a way to cover their goals of reducing emissions. “Convert 10 percent of available wave energy from a 1000-km stretch in this area to electricity, ” Hemer noted, and “the quota could be achieved by wave energy alone.” With recent developments and technology in wave energy becoming ever more efficient and powerful — take for example a single Oyster 2 wave power generator which can power 12,000 homes — this task might not be so difficult for the Aussies to carry out.

Via Science Daily