Monday, March 28, 2005

Ocean Power Fights Current Thinking

Ocean Power Fights Current Thinking:

This will be the first of several posts on alternative energy. I have a recurring fascination with this problem, and it has been rekindled by Thomas Friedman's trenchant discussions of the links between middle east terrorism and US energy policy.

"Recent advancements in the technology indicate that with a relatively small investment from the government, wave energy could soon compete with other renewable sources.

Wave energy systems place objects on the water's surface that generate energy by rising and falling with the waves. The wave energy in turn moves a buoy or cylinder up and down, which turns a generator that sends the electricity through an undersea cable to a power station on the shore.
In addition to having greater energy potential than other renewable sources, ocean energy is viewed as more aesthetically pleasing. Wave energy systems "have less visual impact" than offshore wind farms because they are partially submerged, according to Cliff Goudey, director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Fisheries Engineering Research.
If testing programs succeed, ocean energy could become cost-competitive with wind energy in as little as four years, according to EPRI's Bedard. However, Bedard is doubtful that the current administration will have a sea change of opinion on ocean energy. "The administration is basically a coal and oil administration," Bedard says."