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GLOBAL RENEWABLES ONLINE - APRIL 2012
WHAT IS OCEAN ENERGY?
The term ocean energy is used to describe the harnessing of power found in ocean waves,
tidal flows, and salinity and temperature gradients. Wave energy can be considered a
concentrated form of solar energy. The sun’s radiation heats the surface of the ocean,
creating wind, which in turn creates waves. 
Regions considered to have good wave energy resources are generally those found within
40 to 60 degrees of latitude, where the strongest winds are found. The largest waves are
formed in regions where the wind blows over the water the furthest – the longest “fetch”
– which is often found on the west coasts of continents.
Modern tidal technology developments are focusing on the harnessing of tidal streams,
or currents. These are found in regions with high tidal ranges and natural constrictions,
such as straights, narrows or fjords. This movement of water is also enhanced by the
differential heating of the ocean water column, which creates deepwater currents.
There are numerous methods of harnessing wave and tidal energy that are currently
under various stages of research and development (R&D), and demonstration.