Tidal and Wave Energy for Coastal Resilience in Developing Nations

This article explores how tidal and wave energy can contribute to coastal resilience in developing nations, providing a sustainable and reliable source of power while helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

The Potential of Tidal and Wave Energy

Tidal and wave energy technologies have shown great potential in coastal regions worldwide. As developing nations often face the challenges of limited access to electricity and vulnerability to climate change, embracing tidal and wave energy can have several significant advantages:

  • Abundant Renewable Resource: The ocean provides a vast and consistent source of energy in the form of tides and waves. It is estimated that up to 3,000 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity could be generated from tidal and wave energy globally each year, according to the World Energy Council.
  • Coastal Resilience: Developing nations, especially those with coastal communities, are more susceptible to the adverse effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and extreme weather events. Tidal and wave energy can increase coastal resilience by providing a sustainable and climate-friendly energy source.
  • Job Creation and Economic Growth: The development and deployment of tidal and wave energy projects create new employment opportunities and stimulate local economies. A report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) suggests that the ocean renewable energy sector could create over two million jobs globally by 2050.
  • Reduced Carbon Emissions: Transitioning from fossil fuel-based energy sources to tidal and wave energy helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This shift aligns with the goals set in the Paris Agreement to combat climate change and limit global warming.

Successful Implementations

Several developing nations have recognized the potential of tidal and wave energy and taken steps to harness it for their coastal resilience strategies. Here are some inspiring examples:


Chile, with its extensive coastline along the Pacific Ocean, has the ideal conditions for tidal and wave energy projects. The world’s first commercial-scale wave power plant, the “El Bato” project, was successfully deployed in the country. This project, developed by a Spanish company, can generate up to 5 megawatts (MW) of electricity, providing clean energy to thousands of homes.


Scotland is another prime example of a nation embracing tidal and wave energy. The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney serves as a testbed for various marine energy converters. The country has successfully installed and operated the world’s largest tidal power project, the “MeyGen” project, which has the capacity to power approximately 175,000 homes.


India, with its vast coastline and ambitious renewable energy targets, has also recognized the potential of tidal and wave energy. The country inaugurated its first tidal energy project, the “Gulf of Khambhat” project, in the state of Gujarat. With a capacity of 50 MW, this project aims to harness the power of the tides to generate clean and reliable electricity.

The Way Forward

While tidal and wave energy show immense promise, there are challenges that need to be addressed for widespread adoption in developing nations:

  • Technological Advancements: Further research and development are required to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of tidal and wave energy technologies.
  • Infrastructure Development: Developing nations may require support in building the necessary infrastructure for tidal and wave energy projects, such as grid connections and maintenance facilities.
  • Policy and Regulatory Frameworks: Governments need to establish favorable policies and regulations that encourage private investments in tidal and wave energy.

It is crucial for international organizations, governments, and investors to collaborate in unlocking the potential of tidal and wave energy for coastal resilience in developing nations. By utilizing the power of the ocean, these countries can enhance their energy security, reduce carbon emissions, and build a more sustainable future.

For more information on tidal and wave energy, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s website on ocean wave energy.

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