There are many different energy sources and they all have their pros and cons. Wave energy is no exception and that is why it is still only deployed in a limited way around the world today. The main reason why wave energy is advantageous is the fact that the energy produced does not involve burning fossil fuels and so there are no air pollutants or greenhouse gases emitted during operation. Not using thermal energy also increases efficiency, since there are fewer energy transfers.
Wave energy is therefore a renewable source and could be a valuable source to add to a mix of renewables. A disadvantage is that the technology would work best in seas and oceans where corrosive saltwater can impact the useful life of the structures used to generate electricity. Additionally, wave energy generation is difficult to set up as it involves working at sea which increases costs in comparison to works on land.
The fossil fuel known as coal has been used for energy since the industrial revolution and it has many benefits. Principally, the amount of energy that is stored in a small amount of coal makes it a valuable energy source. Its high energy density means that it is energy efficient to transport and produce relatively large amounts of electricity. However, it is a very dirty source of energy, both when it is mined as well as when it is inevitably burned. When burned coal produces large amounts of air pollution and greenhouse gases which have contributed to a significant portion of the increase in atmospheric CO₂ which in turn has caused anthropogenic climate change.
If you want to test your knowledge further, try out our Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy Sources Quiz. Also, check out our other related quizzes to learn about how thermal energy is transferred and what gravitational potential and kinetic energy are.