Ocean wave energy could represent a real opportunity for select coastal locations in Alaska; however, there are numerous environmental and technical challenges associated with this technology. For example, there are concerns related to interactions between ocean energy devices and marine mammals and both adult and juvenile fish. Most coastal communities with wave energy resources are heavily dependent on local subsistence and commercial fisheries. Additional concerns are related to ice interaction with infrastructure, debris that could damage devices, navigation hazards, and impacts on marine life.
While construction and operation of ocean wave energy devices is not considered near-term for Alaska, it has the potential to meet small-scale energy requirements for remote coastal communities. Feasibility studies like those done for in-stream hydrokinetic energy generation will be needed to provide a better understanding of the potential for and challenges of ocean wave energy generation.
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