Friday, April 20, 2007

Energy from the Sea

The sea stores massive amounts of energy from both the sun and the wind. The Energy Blog points to a recent news story on marine energy.
After sputtering along for nearly a decade, marine power appears poised to join the alternative energy juggernaut, though the technologies are still in the early stages and have no guarantee of success. Developers are using an array of contraptions — from spinning turbines to bobbing buoys and undulating, snakelike cylinders — to convert ocean or river movements into electricity.

The world's first commercial wave farm is scheduled to launch this summer off Portugal's coast. The first pilot tidal generator in the USA revved up in New York City's East River last December. And the USA's first utility-scale wave project, off Oregon beaches, won preliminary federal approval this year. All told, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has cleared 21 preliminary permits, and about 35 are pending for wave and tidal projects, largely off the West Coast and shores of Florida and New England.

Widespread use of marine energy is about a decade away, says Roger Bedard, ocean energy leader for the Electric Power Research Institute. In 50 years or so, he says, 20% of offshore wave energy could be tapped practically. That, combined with tidal energy, could constitute 10% of all U.S. power sources.

I am particularly interested in any energy technologies that would facilitate the success of seascapes or undersea habitats.



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