Although both rely on the movement of the sea, wave power is distinctly different from tidal power. Wave power makes use of the rising and falling of waves in an air chamber to force the trapped air up through a turbine, which produces electricity. Just like squeezing a manual air pump forces a flow of air outwards, wave power works on the same principle, with the rising wave acting like the pressing down (compression) of the pump and the flow of air being directed over the blades of a turbine rather than just outwards into a ball or airbed. Unlike balls and airbeds which only want air to go inwards, wave power facilities make use of air being forced through the turbine and back the other way too as the wave falls and air re-enters the chamber.
Advantages of Wave Power
Wave power does not require any source of fuel, being powered solely by the natural movement of the waves, which means there are no harmful emissions which can be damaging for the environment as well as the health and wellbeing of all living creatures on the planet as the atmosphere becomes polluted or leads to increased climate change. This renewable source of electricity generation does not rely upon a finite supply of fuel such as oil, coal or gas which makes this natural form of power generation viable for a very long time, i.e. as long as there are waves in the ocean! These waves also continue every minute of every day which allows the wave power station to operate and generate electricity continuously as well without the need to shutdown and re-start operations.
Disadvantages of Wave Power
Like most other forms of renewable energy which harness and utilise the power of nature, there will be an environmental impact as the equipment designed to "capture" this energy needs to be built to a size and form which can carry out this function. As far as wave power is concerned, air chambers and the turbines will need to be built on the shore which can not only interfere with the habitat of local wildlife but can be visually intrusive for local residents and visitors to the area.