Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Assessing the Environmental Effects of Tidal Turbines

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 Washington researchers are devising ways to site the tidal turbines and measure their environmental effects. Brian Polagye, UW research assistant professor of mechanical engineering, will present recent findings this week in an invited talk at the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting in San Francisco.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Largest U.S. Wind Turbine Project Proposed Off Rhode Island Coast

Deepwater Wind has submitted an application to the Department of the Interior for a 200-turbine, 1,000-megawatt offshore wind energy project with a goal of starting construction in 2014. The project is estimated to cost between $4 and $5 billion and would include an undersea transmission network to send power to Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

More info.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tidal Energy in WA, ME, AK

For eons, powerful tides have raged through Puget Sound, ripping along at 11 feet per second at their peak, predictable as the phases of the moon. Three years from now, a local utility hopes to begin converting a portion of that raw energy to electricity, part of a growing effort to harness the tides to power homes and businesses miles from the smell of salt air.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District's pilot project is small - two turbines with 500 kilowatts of total capacity and an average output of 50 kilowatts - hardly a panacea for all that ails the United States' energy portfolio. But tidal power is garnering increasing attention as a niche supplier of renewable alternative energy in Washington, Maine and Alaska. The tides, some say, have the potential to light five percent of the nation's homes - nearly nine gigawatts of generating power.

More info.