WaveSwell Unit at Grassy

Benefits of wave power

Base load power is electrical power which can be produced constantly and to a prescribed minimum (or base) load.

Base load power is typically produced by coal or gas fired power stations which can store the fuel to be used on demand. Renewable energy is typically not considered base load power as, without an adequate storage capacity, the intermittency of the resource precludes the constant production of a given base load of that power.

Ideally, traditional base load sources would be used to complement the intermittency of renewables, that is ‘filling in the gaps’ when the renewable source is unable to meet the minimum demand. Unfortunately, traditional base load sources of power must overcome a level of inertia – it typically takes hours to increase or wind back production. Wind and solar energy production can vary on time scales that are significantly shorter than the time scales of coal and gas fired power variability (which is also true of other sources such as nuclear). This results in a temporary shortage or surplus of energy.

Wave energy as a resource, however, varies much more slowly than wind or solar power. It is also highly predictable over periods of several days. Therefore, wave power is considered complementary base load power. It can be used in conjunction with traditional base load sources to provide a constant output to satisfy demand, with a seamless transition between the renewable and fossil fuel sources. For example, as waves increase in size producing more energy, a coal fired power station can gradually scale back its production, and vice versa.