Current developments and future prospects of offshore wind and ocean energy

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Journal Article
Applied Energy, 2012, 90 (1), pp. 128 - 136
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The year 2008 saw the emergence of the first generation of commercial ocean energy devices, with the first units being installed in the UK and Portugal. This means that there are currently four ways of obtaining energy from sea areas, namely from wind, tides, waves and thermal differences between deep and shallow sea water. This paper focuses on current developments in offshore wind and ocean energy, highlighting the efforts currently underway in a variety of countries, principally some of the projects typically less talked about such as those in the Asian-Pacific countries. Finally, the growth potential of these industries will be assessed, using as a basis the historical trends in the offshore wind industry and extrapolating it to compute future growth potentials. Using this as a basis, the percentage of the world's electricity that could be produced from ocean based devices is estimated to be around 7% by 2050, and this would employ a significant amount of people by this time, possibly around 1 million, mostly in the maintenance of existing installations. The paper will also evaluate the likely cost of production per kW of ocean energy technologies using a variety of learning factors. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
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