This “one inventive idea” is not like a grand idea similar to wind turbines, that started small and developed into 150,000 MW globally. Each new development of wind turbines was an improvement on what worked well in the first place. The grand idea of the wind turbine was something to work toward, but the grand idea had to come first.
Inventions whose ideas remain in the Box, which are only a slight change to present ideas have never succeeded in the last 30 years. Each country knows that it must find more sources of sustainable energy. The Department of Energy from each country turns to the engineering departments of universities — almost in desperation. Under extreme anxiety, the staff comes up with an idea, but the idea come from inside the Box. Often the government throws millions of dollars at that “one inventive idea“.
The wave energy industry is in its infancy, with no commercial-scale facilities operating anywhere in the world. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a London-based researcher, in August said the evolution of marine-energy systems is taking longer than expected and costing more than forecast. BNEF lowered its capacity forecast for wave power by 2020 to 21 megawatts, 72 percent less than its original estimate. It stated large amounts of money will be required for wave power to catch up with wind and solar.
A theme among wave power experts is that wave energy is where wind energy was three decades ago. It will likely require the participation of some large companies, such as GE or Siemens.
Many wave energy inventions are unsatisfactory because they are huge and heavy and would require expensive regular maintenance. Many of these inventions have a lot of moving parts that can wear out in a harsh environment, especially in the agitated salt-water, which can do a lot of corrosive damage.
Pelamis Wave Power Ltd., a U.K. maker of a very heavy wave energy system, was worth €8.2m for the initial pre-commercial phase. In September 2008, they were not able to raise the money needed to continue development despite years of work by a plethora of start-ups and many millions of dollars in government support. The cost was becoming too high related to the small amount of energy produced.
Cost is the number one disadvantage of wave energy. The possibilities of the proper technology is so varied: many innovators grope for different solutions to this very high potential, and research can be directed aimlessly in many directions. This is the reason why some companies have gone out of business as their technology failed in actual field tests. These many approaches lead to speculation on innovation and the costs are high only because of the wrong initial path.
In the absence of information on how projects operate in real-world conditions and how they affect the environment in which they operate, ocean energy developers cannot attract capital because of low power density of many wave energy inventions.
Wave Energy is only a niche renewable energy technology. While other forms of alternative energy like solar, wind and biomass see hundreds of billions of dollars in investment each year, wave energy does not see even $1 billion in investment globally.
The solution to finding the best wave energy solution has nothing to do with troubles to jump starting any new industry. You can’t start to develop word processing starting with a manual typewriter. The wave technology is so different that it requires an entirely new perspective. What is required is an idea that comes out of the Box. The jet engine was an idea that came out of the Box of all propeller-driven engines.