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Alternative Energy / Tidal Energy

  • Wave to the Energy Future

    Back in January, the Federal Regulatory Commission decided a good place for a new pilot project for tidal energy was, in all places, the East River in New York City near Queens. FERC said it would let Verdant Power tinker with a system designed to use the river's tidal currents to generate electricity.  FERC seemed to be taking a page from the city's ferry system with its plans for renewable goals by saying that, with all the controversy surrounding shale, just relax oh ye low-carbon advocates, we'll get you there. FERC said the pilot license was part of a project it…

  • Riding the Wave of Marine Energy Generation

    Harnessing the energy of wave and tidal currents to generate electricity is arguably a less risky and more predictable endeavor than wind and solar power, and advanced technology to make marine energy a widespread reality is making strong gains, while new tools for predicting wave power could double marine energy generation.  Marine energy includes the energy available in wave surfaces and tidal power as well as kinetic energy from large bodies of moving water. This energy is harnessed through the placement of turbines on the ocean floor or seabed to generate electricity. The massive amount of energy in oceans close…

  • Amid Rising Global Interest in Renewable Energy, Tidal Power to Surge?

    Amid rising global concerns following Japan’s disastrous 11 March 2011 nuclear catastrophe at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daichi nuclear complex and surging oil prices, renewable energy is receiving increased attention from investors. The leading candidates are solar and wind energy, but both have problems beyond significant investment costs and the fact that they have yet to generate power at competitive rates with more traditional power sources such as oil, coal and natural gas. Beyond issues of power storage, a further concern is the fickle nature of their sources – the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind is hardly a constant factor.…

  • Australia Developing Wave Power

    Consider. Australia’s 2,966,140 square-mile landmass is ringed by 16,006 miles of coastline. Most of the population is concentrated along the southeast coast of the country, in an arc running from Brisbane to Adelaide along the "boomerang coast." Virtually all of Australia's large cities - Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide - are on the coast. About 80 percent of Australia's population lives within 30 miles of the coast.  So, where do the Aussies get their energy to support their affluent lifestyles?  Australia is one of the most coal-dependent countries in the world and coal and natural gas, along with oil-based products,…

  • How Viable is Tidal Power for the Future?

    Now is the time on Do the Math when we scan the energy landscape for viable alternatives to fossil fuels. In this post, we’ll look at tidal power, which is virtually inexhaustible on relevant timescales, is less intermittent than solar/wind (although still variable), and uses old-hat technology to make electricity. For this exercise, we mainly care about the scale at which the alternatives can contribute, leaving practical and economic considerations sitting in the cold for a bit (spoiler alert: most are hard and expensive). Last week, we looked at solar and wind, finding that solar can satisfy our current demand…

  • Scotland's Tidal Energy Industry Surges to Global Forefront

    Scottish engineers were prominent in Britain’s Industrial Revolution from the beginning of the 18th century. Now a Scottish renewable energy company is continuing that grand tradition of innovation by selling the world’s first commercial-scale wave power machine. Inverness-based Wavegen announced that it has sold an array of 16 turbines to the Ente Vasco de la Energia, the Basque Energy Board in Spain for $1.58 million. On 18 November President of the Basque Country Patxi Lopez inaugurated the Mutriku tidal power facility. Wavegen Chief executive Matthew Seed said, “We are delighted to have developed the first wave power plant to be…

  • British Tidal Power Riding a Wave?

    In a relentless search for alternatives to fossil fuel energy production, many scientists have turned to thinking about how to harness natural renewable forces to generate power. Currently, the two leading contenders are solar and wind power but now, British scientists are attempting to harness the power of the moon to generate energy in the form of tidal power generators. If successful, tidal power could overcome the unpredictability of wind power and the limits of solar power from clouds and night time. Tides are so accurate and predictable that maritime nations have published timetables of them for more than 200 years. Tidal…

  • World’s Largest Tidal Farm to be Launched in Scotland

    Ten underwater turbines will generate 30GW a year from the seafloor in the Sound of Islay, following government approval. A £40 million tidal array harnessing electricity from one of the UK’s most reliable and strongest tidal streams has been granted approval by the Scottish Government. The 10MW tidal turbine project in the Sound of Islay, between the islands of Islay and Jura, will be the largest scheme of its kind in the world and will generate approximately 30GW per year, enough to power all the homes on Islay and Jura – and, crucially, their whisky distilleries. Scotland has been described…

  • UK Could Capture a Quarter of $750bn Marine Energy Market

    Waves and tides could provide up to 240GW of renewable energy globally by 2050, requiring investment of £460 billion ($750 billion), according to the Carbon Trust – although the risk exists of “near zero deployment”, it warns. The Carbon Trust’s marine renewables green growth paper, released on Tuesday, sets out ‘medium’ and ‘high’ deployment scenarios for the growth of wave and tidal technologies, which would account respectively for 75% and 25% of the market. Under a ‘high deployment’ scenario, where substantial innovation takes place and non-renewable energy sources are constrained, the majority of growth in the marine energy market is…

  • A Look at Tidal Power

    Tidal power, also called tidal energy, is a form of hydropower that converts the energy of tides into electricity or other useful forms of power. The first large-scale tidal power plant (the Rance Tidal Power Station) started operation in 1966. Harnessing the power of ocean tides has long been imagined, but countries are only now putting it into practice. A demonstration project planned for Puget Sound will be the first tidal energy project on the west coast of the United States, and the first array of large-scale turbines to feed power from ocean tides into an electrical grid. University of…