Wave and tidal energy devices are those which generate electricity from the natural motions created in water by waves and tidal currents. 

Wave energy devices can take forms such as paddles that bob up in down with the water, or large jointed  snake-like devices which rest along the water surface, bending and stretching as waves pass under them.       A third method that is being developed is a pumping mechanism that turns a water turbine. 

Tidal current energy devices are somewhat similar to conventional wind turbines, except that the turbine is submerged in water and moved by the constant ebbing and flooding of tides rather than the wind.  Moving water has much more kinetic energy  per unit cross sectional area than wind due to the higher density of water, and the innovation of tidal turbines avoids the negative environmental impacts of damming a bay or estuary as is done with a tidal barrage plant such as the La Rance plant in France.  A new effort is being pursued to harness the ocean currents similar to tidal or in-stream technology. 

The  Hampton Roads area is a unique combination of resources in the mouth of the Chesapeake, the local rivers and the off shore ocean areas, and should be considered for research and development focusing on secondary technology and market applications.  The key could be in developing  complementary wave, tidal and in-stream technologies that serve to enhance other renewable technologies such as solar and wind or can be applied to solving unique environmental challenges in the Chesapeake Bay or similar key habitats.

​Source:  Mayor's Alternative Task Force  Report
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