Ocean power uses the oceans’ tides, currents or waves to produce electricity. Power comes from the water’s movement, i.e. either the changes in height of the tides or the ocean’s current. Different technologies adopt different methods for harnessing the ocean’s energy. However, the most common oceanic power generation system uses a turbine to drive an electrical generator. It is also possible to use oceanic power generation to desalinate seawater and produce drinking water.
he generation of electricity from tides is very similar to hydroelectric generation, except that water is able to flow in both directions and this must be taken into account in the development of the generators. The simplest generating system for tidal plants, known as an ebb generating system, involves a dam, known as a barrage across an estuary. Sluice gates on the barrage allow the tidal basin to fill on the incoming high tides and to exit through the turbine system on the outgoing tide (known as the ebb tide). Alternatively, flood-generating systems, which generate power from the incoming tide are possible, but are less favoured than ebb generating systems.
Surface waves and pressure variations below the ocean’s surface can generate intermittent power. Floating buoys, platforms, or submerged devices placed in deep water, generate electricity using the bobbing motion of the ocean’s waves.