Monday, June 8, 2009

Blue Energy: Plans to harness the ocean excite coastal power agencies

The boundary of Pacific County’s public utility district touches a source of clean and inexhaustible energy — the ocean. And PUD manager Doug Miller says he thinks it’s “highly likely” that someday the utility will plug into it.“I’m excited,” he said. “It’s right here in our backyard.”

Spurred by a nationwide push to develop green energy, entrepreneurs and public utilities are scouting Washington’s coastline from the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the mouth of the Columbia River for places to generate electricity by channeling the sea through turbines.

Ocean energy advocates say the sea’s reliability and proximity to coastal population centers provide a big benefit for a country trying to wean itself from fossil fuels. The ocean energy industry, however, is in its infancy and faces technical and environmental problems.

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