TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Don Guardian wants the state to explore the possibilities of ocean energy to keep New Jersey’s lights on.
The up-and-down motion of waves, and push-and-pull of ocean tides, creates kinetic energy that can be converted into usable electricity. Most popularly, floats or buoys moved by waves stroke an electric generator that makes electricity. That energy arrives on land via underwater power cables. The U.S. Department of Energy expects wave and other water-generated energy to produce 15% of the country’s electricity by 2030. Australia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and China are also capitalizing on the ocean’s energy possibilities.
“We’re neighboring 41.10 million square miles of untapped clean energy potential in the Atlantic Ocean,” Guardian (R-Atlantic) said. “Today’s wave energy harnessing technology has negligible environmental impact and is only getting better, and will eventually cost about the same as wind turbines to produce one kilowatt hour, about 4.5 cents. It’s really an exciting proposition and absolutely worth exploring.”
On Monday, the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee advanced Guardian’s bill (A4483) that directs the state Board of Public Utilities and Department of Environmental Protection to study ocean energy. The Assembly Special Committee on Infrastructure and Natural Resources approved the bill back in September.
Those government agencies would study the feasibility and benefits of using ocean energy and submit those findings to the governor and state Legislature. That report must outline the technologies, infrastructure and facilities the state would need to implement wave and tidal energy. If adopted, the BPU could then solicit pilot wave and tidal energy projects throughout New Jersey.
“As long as the sun shines, the ocean is a limitless source of clean electricity,” Guardian added. “I see this as a net benefit for our state.”