Wave Energy Generation
Steven Brace 2010
Currently a huge amount of time and money is being invested in the research, development and implementation of technologies to exploit renewable energy sources; it is estimated that £95-billion was invested in new renewable capacity in 2009 alone.  In the Department of Energy and Climate Change's 2009 report plans were set out to raise the production of energy from renewables to 30% of the total; some believe that electricity harnessed from wave power could be the solution to meeting these goals.
Waves are formed by the sustained flow of wind above the surface of an area of water. Energy is transferred from the air to the water where it is accumulated as potential and kinetic energy.
The energy possessed by a wave is affected by several factors including the wind speed and distance of open water over which they were generated. Waves move freely with little resistance in deep water and consequently once winds subside waves can easily continue for great distances, some as far as ten thousand kilometres.  Because of their ability to travel unaffected there is a much larger concentration of wave activity on coastlines exposed to large expanses of water and prevailing winds.
Because of their position the west coasts of the Americas, Europe, Australia and new Zealand are potentially huge sources of this renewable energy. It is estimated that the worldwide deep water wave power resources that could be practically captured are in excess of 2TW (13% of global energy consumption); estimates also predict 15-25% of current UK demand could be fulfilled by wave energy power generation.  Some wave farming projects have already begun, or are in development, a few significant schemes are listed on the map below.
Worldwide Wave-Farm Developement
The UK and Scottish Governments are providing significant funding for new wave farm projects; encouraging this new sector could introduce many jobs and a lot of money into the area. In the 1980s Denmark took advantage of the new market in wind turbines encouraging the sector which is now worth more than £3 billion a year to that country. 
Pelamis Wave Power
The Scottish Government has invested £4 million in the construction and deployment of 4 Pelamis Wave machines. When completed this wave-farm will have the largest output capacity world-wide with an average yield of 3MW. 
Pelamis currently has 5 projects in development around the Scottish coast, the largest planned site off the north coast of Sutherland has the goal to generate up to 50MW of power by the end of its second phase. 
Siadar Wave Energy Project
Plans to build a 4MW wave farm by npower renewables were approved by the Scottish Government in 2009. The station is based on Oscillating Water Column technology.  OWCs make use of a large column into which waves flow, these waves pressurise the air inside the column and force it through a wells turbine (a turbine which rotates in the same direction regardless of which way the air flow is coming from); the turbine in turn is connected to a generator.
The first ever commercial wave farm began operation 5km off the coast of Portugal on the 15th July 2008.  The farm makes use of the same pelamis wave machines that are being installed around the Scottish coast. The three machines are capable of generating 750kW each, coming to a total installed capacity of 2.25MW.  The machines were taken out of action 2 months after they were deployed due to technical problems with the joints; and are now indefinitely out of service due to their owners moving into liquidation. 
The wave energy potential in the United States is estimated to be equal to 6.5% of its current total capacity. However there are currently very few projects being planned to exploit this large resource.  Notably the first wave farm to be built in the US has begun construction near Oregon. The farm makes use of OPTs power buoy technology.  Large buoys float on the surface of the water and move with the waves; this movement is used to pump hydraulic fluid that is then used to turn a generator and produce electricity.
Australia and New Zealand
Just as in Europe and America the western coast of Australia and New Zealand has great potential for the production of electricity from wave energy devices. New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research estimates that the country's ocean waves carry on average 25kW per metre of coastline. 
The most noteworthy implementation of wave power in Australia and New Zealand is the oscillating water column generators made by Oceanlinx. This company's makes use of turbines with variable pitch blades in order to generate electricity from a bi-directional flow of air. This has efficiency advantages over the more common well's turbine approach.
Many different techniques have been implemented to harness energy from wave power; EMEC has categorised the variety of different devices into these 6 categories.
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