Ruling Out The Waves: The Demise Of The UK Wavepower Programme
Waves are produced by the wind blowing over the sea. A wide variety of mechanical systems have been proposed for absorbing the energy from wave motion and converting it to electricity, including the 'nodding' duck, a wave contour following hinged raft, and various oscillating column piston-type devices. Chains of wave energy converters could be stationed in deep water well off-shore, feeding power to land by means of marine cables. Britain initially took a lead in developing this technology – several scaled-down prototypes have been tested in open water. Some possible sites for full-scale wave-power systems are also indicated in the Figure. Smaller shore based on on-shore units have already been developed. However, the overall progress of the British programme has been the subject of considerable controversy. The main focus of these criticisms was the programme review carried out in 1982 by ACORD, the Government's Advisory Council on Research and Development, which led to the dramatic cut backs in the wave power programme.