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 Climate Change

Oceans
Published on: Feb. 16, 2022, 11:13 a.m.
Power of the oceans
  • The southern tip of India, with high wave power and fewer variations is best suited for wave energy plants

By Business India Editorial

The oceans are powerhouses of renewable energy, and a new study by IIT-Madras and CRISIL estimates that there is 40,000 MW of energy that can be harnessed from Indian seas.

Now, that’s some serious amount of renewable power. But no significant effort has taken to tap into such a huge energy pool. India is not alone in not tapping the ocean energy. Worldwide, countries, except some sporadic efforts by the UK, Brazil and Denmark, have not really gone after the seas for power.

The high cost involved is the main reason. But with advancement in technology, costs can come down.

The oceans are throbbing with energy – their constant swells, underwater tides and crashing waves are all steady, base-load energy, unlike other sources of renewables.

Researches at IIT Bombay have analysed wave data from coastal regions to find out the best location for wave energy plants. The team, led by Prof Balaji Ramakrishnan from Department of Civil Engineering, has studied 39 years’ wave data collected from India’s coastline by European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast. 

“We analysed data to understand the significant wave height (SWH) and wave power variations over seasons across several locations,” Prof Ramakrishnan told  Quantum. These studies, he says, are essential to zero in on the appropriate technology for energy harvesting.

The team is going about collecting more data to first identify high-potential zones, and then to zero in on the best locations for wave energy plants, said Prof Ramakrishnan, whose work has been published in the journal Regional Studies in Marine Science. The paper says that the southern tip of India, with high wave power and fewer variations, is best suited for wave energy plants.

The study suggests a combination of solar energy, which is abundant during non-monsoon months, wind and wave energy plants. This could bring down the cost, said Prof Ramakrishnan.

Though tapping the oceans for energy is not a new concept, the climate crisis and relevance of renewables have brought renewed interest to it. IIT Madras has signed a joint development agreement with a start-up, Virya Paramita Energy, to develop a technology called ‘point absorber system’ for deployment at several locations.


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