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PHI 346: Environmental Ethics: Ocean Energy

Energy from the Ocean

GOES Satellite Image

[GOES Satellite Image]

Oceans cover almost three-fourths of the earth’s surface. The oceans' waters, the air above the oceans, and the land beneath them contain enormous energy resources. These energy resources include non-renewable energy sources such as oil and gas, and renewable energy sources, such as offshore wind energy, wave energy, ocean current energy, offshore solar energy.

The waters of the oceans can produce two types of energy: thermal energy from the sun's heat, and mechanical energy from tides and waves.


Marine Energy

Scotland has pioneered commercialization of marine energy with the world's first round of wave and tidal leasing.

Region Map - Shetland 

In the dramatic scenery of the Island of Orkney, off the coast of Scotland's rugged North East, sits a converted school building where marine energy firms from around the world and an elite team of industry experts test today's most exciting renewable energy technology. This building is home to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), a proving ground for a robust array of ocean wave and tidal energy devices.

What is Ocean Wave Energy?


Ocean wave energy is captured directly from surface waves or from pressure fluctuations below the surface.

Ocean Current Energy

Ocean waters are constantly on the move. Ocean currents flow in complex patterns affected by the wind, water salinity and temperature, topography of the ocean floor, and the earth's rotation.

Where will ocean current energy work?

What impact does ocean current energy have on the environment?

What is the cost of ocean current energy?

What are some of the devices for ocean energy conversion?