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Harnessing Ocean Kinetic Energy for a Sustainable Future

An ocean energy harnessing system in Gibraltar. [Credit: Eco Wave Power]

By: Andres Diaz, Intern, PVBLIC Foundation

Energy production is a leading factor contributing to climate change, making up around 60% of greenhouse gas output. In order to limit rising planetary warming to 1.5 degrees celsius and stop the catastrophic effects of global warming, there is an urgent need to explore and pursue cleaner and more sustainable forms of energy generation. One method being experimented with is harnessing power from the kinetic energy of ocean waves.

As more than half of the world’s populations live near oceans, wave energy has the potential to significantly and sustainably complement current forms of energy generation, and reduce the amount of carbon emissions. Though energy generation by water has long been through hydropower like hydroelectric dams, wave energy presents another environmentally friendly route: wave energy produces no gas, byproducts, pollutants, or waste. However, there are potential challenges to harnessing renewable energy from our oceans.

Though wave energy infrastructure varies, cables, turbines, or other parts could potentially interfere with marine life. Furthermore, because the systems rely on oceanic bodies of water, they may not be able to support populations further inland. The process of harnessing ocean wave energy is a developing science aimed at increasing access to clean energy and combating climate change, and researchers must approach this method with respect for all living beings.

As the UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated, “We have never been better equipped to solve the climate challenge, but we must move into warp speed climate action now. We don’t have a moment to lose.” Pursuing renewable energies and zoning out harmful fossil fuels is necessary for protecting and securing a healthy planet for generations to come. Complementing or completely fulfilling our energy demands from sustainable sources like kinetic ocean energy is an example of human ingenuity and creativity finding climate change and clean energy solutions. For further information about SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy and SDG 13: Climate Action, visit the United Nations dedicated pages about these global efforts.

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