The fledgling ocean energy industry is awash in ideas for making electricity from moving water but it is still reaching for a toehold in the commercial world.
Greentech Media last week released a summary of an ocean energy report that forecasts great potential for wave and tidal energy.
Ocean power--a resource often located near large population centers--could ultimately generate 25 percent of today's total electricity usage, said report co-author Travis Bradford, president of the Prometheus Institute for Sustainable Development.
In the next six years, electricity production from the ocean could swell from just 10 megawatts now to 1 gigawatt, a $500 million market.
Before ocean power becomes an economic reality, however, there are huge hurdles to overcome, including too many competing turbine designs, lengthy environmental permitting, costly installation, and, in many cases, a harsh working environment at sea.
Research in ocean energy is active, with most of it done in the U.K. There are a number of pilot projects in the works which, if completed, would total 650 megawatts of electricity production. That's roughly the size of one coal or natural gas power plant.