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Tidal Power Gains Momentum

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posted on Nov, 4 2006 @ 11:22 AM
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Generating power from the endless ebb and flow of the ocean's tides has become a leading area of alternative energy research in the last two years, and two decades of effort and experimentation is finally making the technology competitive. Dependence on foreign oil, the volatile oil market, and global warming are driving research into alternative energy sources.
 



www.forbes.com
Tidal power proponents liken the technology to little wind turbines on steroids, turning like windmills in the current. Water's greater density means fewer and smaller turbines are needed to produce the same amount of electricity as wind turbines.

After more than two decades of experimenting, the technology has advanced enough to make business sense, said Carolyn Elefant, co-founder of the Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition, a marine energy lobbying group formed in May 2005.

In the last four years, the federal commission has approved nearly a dozen permits to study tidal sites. Applications for about 40 others, all filed in 2006, are under review. No one has applied for a development license, Miller said.

The site that is furthest along in testing lies in New York's East River, between the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens, where Verdant Power plans to install two underwater turbines this month as part of a small pilot project.




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Ocean wave action is a promising source of alternative energy, as well. Tidal action energy production draws much of its technology from wind turbine generators, while wave action energy technology must be developed from scratch.

It is good to see renewable energy resources being developed as an alternative to our dependence on coal and oil. Let's face it, we will have to transition off of our oil dependency to other, sustainable technologies, and we should get started sooner rather than later.




posted on Nov, 4 2006 @ 04:48 PM
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There's a very successful plant at La Rance, France...but this technology I think is only really useful in areas that have a dramatic high tide/low tide difference, and that ranges widely worldwide.



posted on Nov, 4 2006 @ 05:07 PM
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What effect would these have on fish and other marine life?



posted on Nov, 4 2006 @ 07:04 PM
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Originally posted by djohnsto77
There's a very successful plant at La Rance, France...but this technology I think is only really useful in areas that have a dramatic high tide/low tide difference, and that ranges widely worldwide.


The best place is the Severn estuary in Britain but they can't seem to actually make a move on implementing it. It's just studies and talks.



posted on Nov, 4 2006 @ 07:36 PM
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We are getting ready to harness this technology right here in Oregon. OSU researchers have developed a rather ingenious system of doing so. It appears to have little environmental impact (as opposed to a dam, or coal mine) and I cannot see how it would harm fish or other wildlife. There are several different programs around the world varying in size and shape....pretty cool stuff.

OSU Wave Power Prototypes







posted on Nov, 4 2006 @ 11:46 PM
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From what I read, there are few prospective tidal energy sites, as opposed to many more good probabilities for wave generated energy sites. It is the technology for tidal energy being ahead of that for wave energy, due to the wind energy tech transfer, that has resulted in tidal energy being prepared to go on-line first.

At least that is what they would have us believe as the develpoment pace of alternative energy sources creeps along while the oil world goes super-critical.



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