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Nearshore waves better than expected for wave energy

Nearshore waves have more potential for wave energy development than previously thought, according to a New Scientist article.

Dr Matt Folley of Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, told the magazine that nearshore waves 500 m to 2 km from the coast have 80-90% of the power potential of offshore waves.

Offshore waves carry a power potential of around 18.5 kW per metre-slice, whereas neashore waves carry around 16.5 kW.

Offshore waves have so far been thought to carry a much larger power potential than nearshore waves, but according to Folley, this is because previous figures have allowed severe storms to push up the average (despite wave energy devices normally going into preservation mode during storms).

Furthermore, he told the New Scientist that whereas nearshore waves tends to have more or less uniform movement direction towards the coast, offshore waves come from several directions, which could make them harder to collect.

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Wave and tidal energy