New Progress in Tidal and Wave Power Gives Hope for Ocean Based Clean Energy
On a daily basis, scientists continue to try and find a way to efficiently gather sizable amounts of clean energy from the ocean. Whether it is from the power of the tides or the constant rolling of the waves, nearly every nation bordering the ocean has invested some money in research for ocean power. Recently, some progress was seen in the United States where an all new tidal generator was tested and in Australia where they have started looking into wave energy.
In Maine, the Ocean Renewable Power Company has successfully completed testing on a tidal power system that can generate enough clean energy to be fed into local grids. Placed off the coast of Eastport, Maine, the turbine was developed by Ocean Renewable Power in hopes that they could utilize the tides in the nearby Cobscook Bay as a viable source of power. Though the unit that is currently in operation will be unable to generate any significant power, Chris Sauer, CEO of the company, has faith that this is the first step towards their full integration into the nearby power grids. He currently has the deployment of a 150 kilowatt turbine, which will have the ability to power approximately fifty homes in the Eastport area, set for sometime in late 2011 . Once that turbine has been placed and begins operating successfully, Sauer hopes to install an entire system of turbines to power the nearby county and beyond by 2017.
While there was never any doubt that the turbine would be able to generate clean energy, there was some concern that the fluctuation of the tides would not provide enough steady power to feed into the local grid. However, the system developed by Ocean Renewable Power has proven that even with the change in tides, the energy can be stored and delivered in a consistent and uninterrupted manner. Sauer still believes that despite the difficulty in starting up a tidal power system, the predictability of the tides gives tidal power a clear advantage over solar and wind based power.
In Australia, research has finally been completed that will allow the nation to determine the best area for wave based clean energy. According to the information gathered by the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, the stretch of water between Geraldton, which is located on Australiaâs Western coast, and the southern tip of Tasmania has the potential to generate nearly five times more power via wave energy than the nation currently consumes. Despite finding the ideal location for the set up of a series of wave energy generators, the technology is still not yet ready for any large scale operations such as this. Dr. Mark Hemer, the man behind the study, believes that Australia would need at least another ten years before they could begin taking advantage of the offshore bounty of energy.
Whether it is wave energy or tidal energy, progress is being made in the field of one of the more interesting forms of clean energy. Hopefully, despite setbacks in the past regarding these forms of technology and the overall difficulty encountered when trying to implement it, researchers and manufacturers will not give up on the ocean and we will continue to rely on the benefits it gives as mankind has for centuries.
Photo Credit: Flickr