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Since diving into the deep end when it comes to energy issues, almost every day sees new fascinating concepts, approaches, and technologies.  Fascinating ... exciting ... even hope inspiring at times.  And, as well, as the passion builds, so many of these are truly 'Energy Cool'.    

We are cursed to "live in interesting times ..."  We live with the realities of Peak Oil ... of Global Warming ... And we live in the shadow of amazing technological developments that offer the opportunities to provide Silver Buckshot Pellets and Silver BBs to help surmount these challenges ...

Potential Pellets and BBs from Algae BioDiesel to Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles to Concentrating Solar Power to LED lighting advances are emerging from the shadows literally every day.  One of the least heralded, to date, of opportunities and one that might be on the edge of breaking out comes from the seas.

Thus, to fight the inexorably mounting tides of Global Warming we might find hope in turning our eyes (and our investment) to the sea ...

NOTE Please consider dropping in on the more important discussion Why Energize America?

That proverbial Chinese curse, with a menacing tone, threatens: May you live in interesting times.  

We do ... We live under spectre of September 11th ... We have a political system under threat and the potential to turn the tide ... We live with the reality of Global Warming and the every-mounting human emissions accelerating that warming ... And, well, we live in a time of incredible ingenuity and opportunity for real, positive advances.

We are seeing these emerging, literally daily, in energy efficiency and in renewable energy.  One of the least heralded, to date, of opportunities and one that might be on the edge of breaking out comes from the seas.

Thus, to fight the inexorably mounting tides of Global Warming we might fight hope in turning our eyes (and our investment) to the sea ...

Ocean power is not new. The French have been generating tidal power over three decades at Rance, with an "annual output [of] about 600 million kWh, or about 68MW average power."

Thus, ocean power is not new ... humanity has known the power of the seas for millenia ... but, the imperative to capture that power is upon us and the ability to do so is increasing.

The Aquo Buoy from Finerva Renewables has just, according to a press release,

successfully completed a major milestone ... deployment and commissioning of the AquaBuOY 2.0 wave energy converter [2.5 miles] off the coast of Newport, Oregon. ... first installation of a wave energy converter of this scale off the west coast of North America ... goal of commercial electricity generation from ocean waves by 2010.

Now the solar and wind are not meant for commercial power generation but for helping to power the diagnostic equipment.  "This test data will be used for the next design iteration of the wave energy converter, with an anticipated deployment in 2008."

The Company is advancing along its project development plan with the phased installation of a multi-device wave park and commercial electricity generation by 2010. The Company currently has wave energy projects totaling more than 250 megawatts (MW) planned or under development on the west coast of North America.

250 MW doesn't eliminate coal-fired electricity ... actually, it is just half of one typical coal plant.  But, 250 MW from the sea from just one technology planned, a technology that is still in R&D.

And, well, it is a technology that is getting some attention ... such as Beyond Wind and Solar in The Washington Post at the beginning of the month.

Finavera's chief executive, Jason Bak, believes he knows how. The equipment his company designed, called AquaBuOY, aims to generate electricity from the vertical motion of waves. The buoy, anchored in an array two to three miles offshore, will convert the waves' motion into pressurized water using large, reinforced-rubber hose pumps. As the buoy goes up the peak of a wave and down into its trough, it forces a piston in the bottom of the buoy to stretch and contract the hose pumps, pushing water through. This drives a turbine that powers a generator producing electricity, which would be shipped to shore through an undersea transmission line.

"This is the new source of power," Bak said. "It's the highest-energy-density renewable out there. Wind is like light crude oil, and water is like gasoline."

"The new source of power ..." Perhaps ... Perhaps not ... We need to keep a rational perspective about this and not jump off the deep end. But, how about a Silver Buckshot Pellet, perhaps even a Silver BB, in our fight to kill the inexorable growth of GHG emissions ...

And, well, the Aquo Buoy is far from alone in the water. There are many other wave/tidal/ocean electrical generation systems developing ...

  • Pelamis Wave Power is a snake-like system (picture above), moving from test-level to commercial-level production off the Iberian Peninsula and in the UK.
  • Verdant Power's systems powering up Manhattan. (Latest report that I've seen is that all six turbines are broken and Verdant is repairing/rebuilding them.)
  • Ocean Power Technologies is another bouy power system. OPT has projects in Hawaii (producing power), Spain, with a test buoy (pictured) off New Jersey.

And, well, the list is long ... The wonderful thing ... there are a lot of developments.  It seems that wave, tidal, ocean power is on the cusp of major breakthroughs.  A couple great resources for more about ocean/wave power:

What is exciting to see is so many positive developments across so many fronts.  Wind ... solar ... geothermal ... energy efficiency ... ocean power.  Every day there is more out there that is, well, that is Energy COOL!

Ask yourself:  

Are you doing
your part to


Are you ready
  to do your part?

Your voice can
... and will make a difference.

So ... SPEAK UP ... NOW!!!


Originally posted to A Siegel on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 08:22 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips / Mojo: 9 Sept 07 (151+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Devilstower, racerx, JekyllnHyde, Alumbrados, Schmendrick, exsimo2, vicki, GeckoBlue, xy109e3, Gooserock, mem from somerville, RAST, ETinKC, Xan, ericy, GayHillbilly, eeff, x, devtob, elial, elfling, mataliandy, exNYinTX, loudGizmo, bronte17, BlackGriffen, howd, dlcampbe, eddieb061345, DaleA, ksh01, roses, javelina, Ignacio Magaloni, ornerydad, antirove, LARefugee, TNdem, mullsinco, oldjohnbrown, Dallasdoc, cometman, Eddie Haskell, skids, 4jkb4ia, lulu57, JayBat, ybruti, Sopiane, Lefty Mama, jcrit, kd texan, greeseyparrot, rapala, Fabian, radarlady, pattyp, supak, ghengismom, Doolittle Sothere, ichibon, lale, baccaruda, Flint, Webster, Luetta, jhutson, tgray, Simplify, stagemom, KiaRioGrl79, Turkana, howardfromUSA, Waterbug, cfk, Barcelona, lotlizard, Little Lulu, babatunde, AnotherMassachusettsLiberal, Sevah, sodalis, Rogneid, JanL, kkjohnson, Dania Audax, Land of Enchantment, xaxnar, Reality Bites Back, SSMir, Prof Dave, happynz, jimraff, PeaceBot, BalanceSeeker, Milly Watt, RogueStage, The Wizard, dewey of the desert, TalkieToaster, Aly, Skeptical Spectacle, nilocjin, Bush Bites, real world chick, BalkanID, plf515, CTLiberal, Preston S, ER Doc, doingbusinessas, means are the ends, scoff0165, sasher, bigchin, ignatz uk, tourist305, DrSteveB, SomeStones, ColoTim, offgrid, BruceMcF, moosely2006, Outrider, Blue Waters Run Deep, DWG, gatorbot, RosyFinch, spiraltn, Joffan, GeorgeXVIII, Brahman Colorado, Bikemom, oxon, trivium, Light Emitting Pickle, wondering if, JeffW, gfv6800, dsnodgrass, The Overhead Wire, lineatus, Mother of Zeus, dano2l, BlueGenes, Cheney, watercarrier4diogenes, ZhenRen, moderate by extremes, ryangoesboom, Chad Michaels

    There are serious threats in front of us, that we all confront. But, as well, there are serious options for turning the tide.  As per Royal Dutch Shell's CEO it

    "is entirely feasible, provided that the will is there."

  •  My sister works in plotting (18+ / 0-)

    volcano vents on the ocean floor. She and I have discussed the fact that humans know more about Mars than we do about the ocean. I'm sure this is especially true of ocean generated power systems...

  •  Tidal Power New York East River (24+ / 0-)

    Just south of the Roosevelt Island Bridge to Queens rise the smokestacks of KeySpan’s giant Ravenswood electricity generating station, a behemoth that runs on natural gas and fuel oil.

    North of the bridge, black cables snake out of the churning surface of the East River. They connect a makeshift control room inside an old shipping container on the island to a battery of futuristic mechanisms that could shape an energy future that does not pollute or use foreign oil — if a five-year-old company named Verdant Power can work out all the bugs.

    Weeks after they were formally dedicated by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, six underwater turbines that turn the river’s currents into electricity have been shut down for repairs and a basic redesign. The East River’s powerful tides have been wreaking havoc with the giant turbine blades since the first two were installed in December.

    "But the good thing is that there’s more power in the East River than we thought," said Mollie E. Gardner, a geologist for Verdant Power, which owns the equipment.

    Be careful what you shoot at, most things in here don't react well to bullets-Sean Connery .... Captain Marko Ramius -Hunt For Red October

    by JML9999 on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 08:26:43 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for the link to the (14+ / 0-)

      more recent article ... I watched the installation videos at the beginning of the year, with the first turbine broken the first day, but the second looked great.   But, this is a learning process -- the good thing, re ocean/tidal/wave, is that there look to be a lot of people moving fast down that learning curve, which suggests the ability for mass deployment in the coming decade.

    •  Tidal has great potential (20+ / 0-)

      The Golden Gate in San Francisco has 50% more tidal flow than the Amazon, so tidal turbines strung from the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge could provide vast electric power.  

      Tidal and wave energy, along with deep geothermal, may finally be able to provide the high capacity base power we need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels.  Maybe come 2009, if we can elect more Democrats, we can move forward in making progress on saving the planet.

      Don't expect to live in a democracy if you're not prepared to be an active citizen.

      by Dallasdoc on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 09:11:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Chevron looked into this years ago (10+ / 0-)

        (fd - I am currently paid by chevron) and My father who was a Chevron employee had a look at the report.  At the time, basically they couldn't figure out a way of keeping the salt water from corroding everything - most likely that is still the biggest hurdle.

        "For me, walking into a nice Jewish deli IS a religious experience." -my mom

        by ETinKC on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 11:20:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Electrolysis (8+ / 0-)
          Has got to be a major concern.  Maybe modern non-metalic construction materials can make it less so, but probably drives up initial costs.

          The same waves that produce the power are battering your equipment to pieces as well.  As a Sailor I can certainly attest to that. Each unit would also constitute a hazzard to navigation.

          I see a lot of potential but a lot of engineering difficulties as well.  Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

          "Good idea Chuck, but Syrup won't stop 'em." Firesign Theater, Everything You Know is Wrong.

          by 3card on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 12:53:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Don't forget that when they get oil, they get ... (0+ / 0-)

            ... a free ride on many of the costs from using the oil to go along with it. So they can say, "but the bottom line doesn't add up", because of what is omitted from the red ink side of the oil bottom line.

   and Energize America

            by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 12:24:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  They can figure out offshore drilling, but not (0+ / 0-)

          this?  Sorry, doesn't pass the smell test.

          "The military industrial complex not only controls our government, lock, stock and barrel, but they control our culture." - Mike Gravel

          by Wilberforce on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 10:52:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It isn't that it can't be done, but salt water (0+ / 0-)

            does nasty things to turbines and moving parts.  The repair cost under the GG bridge was thought to be very high and the monetary benefit for the company wasn't great enough.

            Of course the price of electricity has gone up and the technology has increased greatly sing then (this was over a decade ago).

            "For me, walking into a nice Jewish deli IS a religious experience." -my mom

            by ETinKC on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 01:44:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It also does nasty things to drilling (0+ / 0-)


              "The military industrial complex not only controls our government, lock, stock and barrel, but they control our culture." - Mike Gravel

              by Wilberforce on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 02:01:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  True, but the drilling equipment comes out (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                A Siegel

                of the water after a while and the energy is then extracted for a long time.  I am not making excuses and if they got as many subsidies for not oil energy production as we do for keeping the oil flowing, this could have happened a long long time ago.  It just isn't as simple as make it happen.

                Chevron is in the business of making money.  One of the few times they go into business that doesn't make them lots and lots of money it is for the good PR they get, like my group that does solar, wind and energy conservation projects.

                "For me, walking into a nice Jewish deli IS a religious experience." -my mom

                by ETinKC on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 02:23:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  But you have to watch out for side effects (9+ / 0-)

        when you extract power from waves and currents, you're taking away power that was being used by the natural systems in existence. Possible problems include reduced purging of the water, with reduced oxygen levels and increased retention of contaminates from the land, and silting in of basins, similar to the problems hydroelectric dams have.

        Wave and current power are interesting, but their effects on existing systems has not been well studied. I think that they shouldn't yet be counted on as a major source of power, and the early installations be carefully studied for side effects. New systems should be scrutinized for their impact, using everything we know at the time.

        We don't need to push new energy sources, only to screw up the littoral and sublittoral zones. The Aswan dam is  a good example of this - new source of power and irrigation water, the Nile Delta is eroding away and becoming infertile, the fishing in the region has declined, the red brick industry has badly harmed, farm lands are eroding away, the chemical fertilizers that replace the yearly silt deposits are causing pollution problems, Lake Nasser is silting in and promotes schistosomiasis.  The change in nutrient and water flow has effects out into the Atlantic.

        •  Yes ... yes ... but ... (8+ / 0-)

          I agree that we should be aware of ... but also to keep in context difference between nearly totally ending the flood patterns on one of the world's major rivers and taking a fraction of a percent of the power out of a wave.

          Now, for me, one of the interesting uses of wave power could be off breakwaters. To reduce the power of the waves purposefully in an area where there are already reasons seeking to reduce this force of nature.

          •  That's applying wave power (7+ / 0-)

            to spots where any damage to be done already been, and so is not very likely to cause much more harm.

            Breakwaters are usually facing open waters, and well swept by currents and winds. But many of the projects brought up here and other places are schemes to extract power from currents related to tidal basins, places that often already are in trouble.

            I brought up the subject because wave/tidal/current power is often brought up as a wonderful solution to power needs, as if it is already well proven, in large scale implementation, and known to be without serious impact.  This simplistic thinking is similar to that behind the Aswan dam, referenced because it a major example of what can go wrong, and behind "electric power too cheap to be metered" of the `50s nuclear power plant push. Too simplistic thinking oft leads to ineffective actions and goals, we can;t afford tp was energy and drive on 'solutions' that aren't real.

            I think that wave/tidal/current power looks interesting, and falls into the "we should build trial installations and study the heck out of them". But the not well understood effects mean that those installations might have to be removed, meaning that this is closer to research than commercial development. Commercial development often means that ill effects get covered over until much more harm has been done, and further exploitation of the problem technology has been done, making it even less likely that the unwise choice will be reversed.

            •  We are in (0+ / 0-)

              a lot of agreement.

              One thing that I failed to do (should have done) in the diary was point out that major projects like Rance, which create barriers/near dams, have the potential for major impact on coast eco-systems. While, on the other hand, many of the newly developing systems have far less a heavy hand on the local ecosystem. (Think difference between wall and the wind vs wind turbine and the wind. Both affect wind currents/wind flow, but the second far (FAR) less.)

            •  My Cousin (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              A Siegel, wondering if

              was hired to consult on an impact study for a company based in the UK (linked way downthread), and he said he was shocked how little "findable" impact there actually was on marine life and their movements.

              Of course, the long-term impact on sedimentation, plant-life, and of course marine animals will take time to be proven, but the initial results on at least the slow-moving current turbines seems to be minimal.

              The primary reason is believed to be that the peak of their motion coincides with the peak of tidal currents, when most marine life takes some cover anyway (to avoid being swept off).

              Melissa Hart is gone - thank you Chris Bowers

              by surfbird007 on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 09:10:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think those types of systems (0+ / 0-)

                will have minimal impact, certainly in terms of slicing and dicing critters.  But to get power out of the system you must remove power from the currents; in effect a 'dam' that has a lot of holes in it is built where the turbines are. And that lessened energy means that there is less movement of water on the other side, less sediment being pushed about, perhaps a reduction in oxygenation levels.

                These all all things that might not show an impact for some times, years or decades even. If the reproduction of some species is impacted, and that species has a lifespan of some years and is not commercial, it's doubtful that and harm or help would be noticed for a period of several times the age from fertilization to reaching reproductive age.

                Studying these systems, even in shallow water, is difficult. New species are constantly being found, new relationships being discovered.  I think that making sure we don't yet again shoot ourselves in the foot from something in this area will prove much more difficult than anything on the construction side of such systems, those being straightforward engineering problems.

                •  Do vertical turbines work underwater? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wondering if

                  Can't see as how they wouldn't. If they're environmentally benign in the air I'd thin they'd be equally benign underwater--with no more corrosion or maintenance problems than those for the horizontal turbines, doncha think? (I'm not saying they ARE benign--I don't know myself, but that's a claim I've seen...)

                  May I bow to Necessity not/ To her hirelings (W. S. Merwin)

                  by Uncle Cosmo on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 12:42:23 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It's the power extraction that is a potential (0+ / 0-)

                    problem, not how the blades run once they are slow enough).  Taking power out of the current means that there is an effect downcurrent. Solids being carried by the current are dropped, the bottom receives less scrubbing, less oxygenated water is brought in, and so on.

                    If the turbines aren't too close together, if only a small fraction of the energy in the current is being removed, then these are not as likely to be problems. But doing so pushes up the cost of the installation in terms of dollars per kilowatt output, and in terms of energy used to build the installation in the first place.

  •  Harnessing the ocean's energy might be (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bronte17, sc kitty, tgray, A Siegel, spiraltn

    an alternative to the wind turbines in places like Cape Cod that are creating divisions among people that usually agree on matters environmental.

    •  But ... BUT ... (24+ / 0-)

      I do not want this as alternative to Cape Wind.  

      An upcoming Energy Bookshelf will be on Cape Wind.  If we allow these hypocrites to win in defeating this wind mill project we, in my opinion, legitimate every single NIMBY complaint and seriously hurt abilities to move forward to a more sensible energy future.

      Progressives should, imo, be squarely behind Cape Wind.  It will reduce emissions, lower risk of future oil spills, and has been the target of an extremely well-funded disinformation campaign.

      •  It's most important to just get on with it (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        javelina, sc kitty, rb608, A Siegel

        Getting mired in this is a detour of sorts in a time when we do not have the luxury of "winning" or deciding who has the moral high ground.

        That is not meant to be judgemental, only pragmatic.

        Looking at the totality of this diary shows we will win this one with a thousand good ideas and the good folks who will bring them to fruition.

        •  My problem ... (13+ / 0-)

          is that surrendering to Cape Wind opponents gives legitimacy to similarly shallow efforts elsewhere. We should be deploying wind turbines off America's coastlines (in an effort to keep them from changing) and Cape Wind's problems in deployment are inhibiting other projects. A definite statement in favor with a positive deployment will ease the path for other wind projects. A failure will embolden NIMBYites anywhere/everywhere.

          •  I talked with my father this summer (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LIsoundview, sc kitty, rb608, DWG

            and was asking him about this (he is a cape resident).  IIRC his biggest complainant is that there seemed to be an unused military base on the cape that they could use instead, with lower cost, easier maintenance, etc.  Not sure of the details of that issue.

            "For me, walking into a nice Jewish deli IS a religious experience." -my mom

            by ETinKC on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 11:23:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hmmm ... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RAST, LIsoundview

              Don't know about the base ... But, couple things:

              1.  Does it have to be either / or, why not both?
              1.  Don't know particulars of the base in terms of wind conditions, value of land for other uses, etc ...
              1.  If people are NIMBYING something that will be offshore, how will they react to 'in their backyards' ... oops, except it might not be in the backyards of the billionaires ...
        •  I'm agreeing with Siegel on this (7+ / 0-)

          A week or so ago I commented that there was growing opposition to wind turbine farms, and this represents the greatest obstacle to wind power now that it is economically competitive with fossil fuel based sources.

          The offshore farms get a lot of opposition, but the land based ones get the NIMBY treatment as well. Home solar installations see opposition, there's been some rumblings against larger installations that could cause problems.

          Every time a proposed system is successfully fought, it will encourage other NIMBY groups to fight harder, and to cite those earlier cases as support for their own.

          If this resistance spreads, we could end up being faced with coal plants as the principal source of electricity and coal as the source of most fuel in this country.

      •  Absolutely! (7+ / 0-)

        My memory being really bad, I can't remember where I saw this, but I did just see a show about the Cape Wind battle a couple of weeks ago and I was actually astounded.  I remember that from about 4 years ago, but I honestly haven't heard more and I assumed the NIMBYs finally slunk away in disgrace.  But no, they are still at it!  Dear God!  Have you seen photos of what these turbines will "do" to their view?  Basically nothing.  It is really just nausea-inducing.

      •  not that simple (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        4jkb4ia, A Siegel

        to label, hence denegrate and disregard, all opposition to windfarm siting as NIMBY. It implies irrationality and ignorance. This view is informing policy and actually hurting wind development in my region.

        My thinking on this has evolved quite a bit in the course of my graduate thesis research on "NIMBY" in N. Appalachia, which, I know, I know, is different than the Cape Cod development on many many levels. First of all, the landscapes are mountain ridges and there's not many millionaires involved in Somerset County, PA's "Save Our Mountain" group.

        From what I can tell they aren't NIMBY at all and a couple of them even have turbines on their own property.

        The bottom line in Pennsylvania seems to be the need for better siting regulations, especially in environmentally sensitive areas like watersheds and protected wilderness. The GAO has even recommended that PA require Environmental Impact Studies" due to significant raptor and bat mortality at windfarms located on the mountain ridges.

        Rendell has disregarded this advice from the federal government, which is a shame as it is backfiring.

        •  Not all opposition is "NIMBY" ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and, well, sometimes NIMBYism has legitimate parts to it.

          "Well sited" wind accounts for things like migration patterns/bird/bat nesting, potential habitat damage, construction implications, grid connectivity.  

          From what I can tell (and I am not EXPERT but am not ignorant of the issues), Cape Wind truly fulfills requirements for "well sited".  From everything I can tell, the core opposition is heavily funded "I don't want my sailing disturbed" misguided NIMBYism (to be polite).

          •  You are right and what's interesting about (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            4jkb4ia, A Siegel

            Cape Cod is that the federal givernment was involved in the siting. Wasn't it the Army Corps of Engineers?

            Here in PA we have zero federal regulation and almost zero state regulation. It's a mess.  

            btw, I am pro-wind.  

    •  Unlikely (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      javelina, 4jkb4ia, A Siegel, gatorcog, BruceMcF

      The same people that get Nimbyish about Cape Wind will have the same objections to tidal buoy farms.

      •  Quite possibly true ... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LIsoundview, javelina, 4jkb4ia, DWG

        as the objections are that the Cape Wind will mar their traditional sailing grounds ...  Buoys would be obstacles as well.

        •  And we cannot have our needs (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          surfbird007, KiaRioGrl79, A Siegel

          get in the way of their recreation.

          A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. - Aristotle

          by DWG on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 04:39:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I thought it was all about the "view" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel, BruceMcF

          People's "views" of natural beauty are often one of the greatest threats to coastal environments...what people like to look at isn't necessarily healthy for ecosystems. In Florida one big problem is people who cut down mangroves because they interfere with their view of the water...of course those same mangroves harbor all kinds of wildlife, and "interfere" with hurricane tidal surges and wind as well...

          As for the windmills and bouys, I say go with whichever produces power most efficiently. That's the main issue, not looks or what the NIMBY crowd or their opponents decide...I don't think we should choose a system because the NIMBY crowd opposes it.

          "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

          by Alice in Florida on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 08:40:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What is most efficient (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel, wondering if

            is different from what is commercially available.

            I work in LED lighting, and am a huge proponent of its adoption by the public, for efficiency reasons.

            Every light bulb in my house is compact florescent.

            Why?  Because the LED solutions available NOW are too expensive and too dim.

            This is a prototype technology.  Don't expect it to be viable for at least 5 years.

            "Mr. President, make a little money sending people you don't know to Iraq. Mr. President, I don't like you, you don't know how to rock!" - Dick Valentine

            by Easy B Oven on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 10:05:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not fully true ... (0+ / 0-)

              The LED solutions now are expensive ... but early adoption can make sense (I've got some dimmable, recessed LED lights) for those willing to kick in the bucks ... plus special applications (under the counter).

              •  I had posted a reply to myself (0+ / 0-)

                but I guess I never hit post.  There are some good fixtures out there, but they'll be much more viable in a year, year and a half.  BTW, what fixtures do you have?

                "Mr. President, make a little money sending people you don't know to Iraq. Mr. President, I don't like you, you don't know how to rock!" - Dick Valentine

                by Easy B Oven on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 11:45:26 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Couple things ... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Easy B Oven
                  1.  Enbryten LED recessed light.  For  others ... on market.
                  1.  Note that real viability for market for LEDs is things like night lights, Christmas tree lights, exit signs, street lights ... there is already a real, viable market space. Not just yet in terms of cost effectiveness for screw-in lightbulbs.
                  •  Future coming applications (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    A Siegel

                    For those interested, here's where LED's will be in a year or two:

                    MR16 applications (elevator lighting, track lighting, etc)

                    Low brightness mood lighting (restaurant lighting, track)

                    Task lighting (desk lamps, etc)

                    Commercial lighting where dimming is needed (currently incandescent)

                    "Mr. President, make a little money sending people you don't know to Iraq. Mr. President, I don't like you, you don't know how to rock!" - Dick Valentine

                    by Easy B Oven on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 12:13:42 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  The one obstacle removed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel

          is that of the sightline issue - many of the snobs opposing the project were primarily worried about their "pristine views." Low-protruding bouys really won't be seen from shore.

          A lot of experts consider wave motion a far more predictable and reliable renewable energy source than wind, so it has that sales pitch benefit as well.

          Melissa Hart is gone - thank you Chris Bowers

          by surfbird007 on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 09:04:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  You forgot California (11+ / 0-)

    PG&E is also testing the Pelamis,
    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
    the Finavera
    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
    and another one, North of the Golden Gate Bridge, to power the Bay Area

  •  The Bay of Fundy (6+ / 0-)

    Has 50 foot tides. Thus, at peak tide times, they rise 50 feet in six hours, and most of that in the three hours between low and high, thus for several hours the tide rises at several inches per minute — over thousands of square miles. There's got to be a good way to get power out of this, which is not far from the Megalopolis and probably easily connected to the northeast grid...

  •  Here's another (11+ / 0-)

    Via New Scientist,

    By the end of the year, twin underwater turbines should be generating 1.2 megawatts of electricity off the coast of Northern Ireland in a landmark demonstration of tidal power technology.

    Marine Current Turbines, a company based in Bristol, UK, had hoped to begin installing the turbines at Strangford Lough (Google map) on Monday, but the construction barge scheduled to deliver the turbines was delayed. A company spokesman says the installation will now take place later in 2007. It will be the world's largest tidal power project.

    The underwater turbines look and work very much like wind power turbines. Each blade is 15 to 20 metres across and is mounted on an axis that attaches to a 3-metre-wide pile driven into the seabed.

    Tide-driven currents will move the rotors at speeds of between 10 and 20 revolutions per minute, which the company claims is too slow to affect marine life. The turbines will drive a gearbox that will, in turn, drive an electric generator and the resulting electricity will be transmitted to the shore via an underwater cable.

    The Strangford Lough tidal generator is intended purely as a demonstration project. Eventually, MCT intends to build farms of turbines consisting of 10 to 20 pairs each.

    Just guessing from the illustration, but it looks like it wouldn't be a stretch to extend the above-water part to mount a wind turbine as well. The design looks comparable to the East River project. Somebody's bound to get it right.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 09:37:33 PM PDT

  •  What About Waste Heat? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pb, 4jkb4ia, DWG, RosyFinch

    Ormat Industries, an Israeli company that is the premiere geothermal developer in the U.S. and has lately invested increasingly in solar power, also has a sideline converting waste heat into electricity.

    Now what's the downside to that?

    If you require a dark side, there is one I can think of.  Utilizing waste heat extends the useful life of bad old ways of doing things.

    Still it is a good thing to use what is with no further harm to anyone I think.

    Locally a company tried to utilize the dam on our rive,r built long ago solely for flood cotrol, for producing electrcity.  As with many other such projects around the country, the companies were scared off by regulators who would require them to be responsible for the dams that been built long ago by someone else.  They only wanted to use what was and could not without taking on outsize responsibility.

    So there will be no incremental power from our dam lake and many others around the country.

    Make sense to anyone?

    Best,  Terry

  •  Burning salt water as energy? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bush Bites, DWG

    This is bizarre... I'm a scientist by training so I'm skeptical of such claims. But this isn't claiming to be a perpetual energy machine or some fantastical new force of nature at work, just maybe a serendipitous discovery of a spectral quirk in the RF band...

    Allow me to explain:

    Salt water as fuel? Erie man hopes so
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    For obvious reasons, scientists long have thought that salt water couldn't be burned.

    So when an Erie man announced he'd ignited salt water with the radio-frequency generator he'd invented, some thought it a was a hoax.

    John Kanzius, a Washington County native, tried to desalinate seawater with a generator he developed to treat cancer, and it caused a flash in the test tube.

    Within days, he had the salt water in the test tube burning like a candle, as long as it was exposed to radio frequencies.

    His discovery has spawned scientific interest in using the world's most abundant substance as clean fuel, among other uses.

    Rustum Roy, a Penn State University chemist, held a demonstration last week at the university's Materials Research Laboratory in State College, to confirm what he'd witnessed weeks before in an Erie lab.

    "It's true, it works," Dr. Roy said. "Everyone told me, 'Rustum, don't be fooled. He put electrodes in there.' "

    But there are no electrodes and no gimmicks, he said.

    Dr. Roy said the salt water isn't burning per se, despite appearances. The radio frequency actually weakens bonds holding together the constituents of salt water -- sodium chloride, hydrogen and oxygen -- and releases the hydrogen, which, once ignited, burns continuously when exposed to the RF energy field. Mr. Kanzius said an independent source measured the flame's temperature, which exceeds 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, reflecting an enormous energy output.

    As such, Dr. Roy, a founding member of the Materials Research Laboratory and expert in water structure, said Mr. Kanzius' discovery represents "the most remarkable in water science in 100 years."

    But researching its potential will take time and money, he said. One immediate question is energy efficiency: The energy the RF generator uses vs. the energy output from burning hydrogen..........

    Thoughts, anyone?

    I won't believe it until I can see it, but if it's true, imagine the possibilities!

    •  I guess the last line is the big question, huh? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
    •  Water Science? :-) (7+ / 0-)

      One immediate question is energy efficiency: The energy the RF generator uses vs. the energy output from burning hydrogen

      As far as I know the law of conservation of energy and matter hasn't yet been revoked though perhaps Alberto Gonzales was working on that before he was so rudely dismissed.

      I suppose there is some possibility that there is an instability in sea water somehow that the RF generator exploits but then why aren't the oceans aflame?

      Best,  Terry

      •  I hate when science screws up some good fun (7+ / 0-)

        Sometimes liberals are a little less skeptical then they should be.  Seems this one has been all over DU:

        These energy-from-water "discoveries" are just a rehash of something that's been known for nearly two centuries: namely, that if you consume enough electrical energy, you can make H2 from H2O -- and if you burn the H2, re-forming H2O, you recover less energy than was consumed by passage of the electric current:

        Hydrogen from water: it's the new Snake Oil. And it shows up too much on DU.

        "For me, walking into a nice Jewish deli IS a religious experience." -my mom

        by ETinKC on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 11:32:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Still (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          If you can use solar generated electricity to electrolyze the water and produce hydrogen, you get less energy back, but you do get a transportable fuel suitable for vehicles.  

          Still huge engineering problems to make feasible and scale up to commercial.  Not without merit though.

          "Good idea Chuck, but Syrup won't stop 'em." Firesign Theater, Everything You Know is Wrong.

          by 3card on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 01:14:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But ... BUT ... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            4jkb4ia, 3card, rb608, JeffW

            we are so far from the point where, in most circumstances, it would not be better to simply use that solar to displace other electrical generation options.

            But, people are doing as you suggest.  See Energy Cool 3: Living in a Solar-Hydrogen World for example.

            •  Portability & storage (0+ / 0-)

              I'd given the solar/hydrogen idea some thought before I'd heard of the research; most as a result of the astronomical discoveries of water elsewhere in the universe somewhere.  The scientists on the talk radio circuits pointed to this water as a source of hydrogen  for power; but I kept doubting the viability because of the conservation of energy thing.  The only reasonable answer was solar energy input to break the hydrogen-oxygen bond.

              The applicability as I see it (and in reality, the big issue regarding solar energy and other technologies) is portability and storage.  How can you store solar energy or move it from place to place?  Sure, batteries are a quick and obvious answer, but other storage technologies must accompany generation technologies.  

              Using solar to break down water isn't so much a generation issue as a technology to store the solar energy as hydrogen.

          •  But solar is more expensive than wind (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            4jkb4ia, 3card, A Siegel, JeffW

            and further away from large scale use.

            On top of that hydrogen isn't the best fuel, there are real problems remaining in storing in at densities suitable for transportation, and a number of other technical details - hydrogen diffuses through many metals, and embrittles them for example.

            Making hydrogen and using it to convert CO2 or waste organics to methane, methanol, DME, methylal, and so on, gives fuels that we already use (methane) or that are fairly simple to integrate into the transportation system.

            •  Solar has made some major breakthroughs... (0+ / 0-)

              We've got two proven systems for moving solar panels from $8% to ~40% efficiency.

              (I'm betting on battery/ultra-capacity storage for transportation in the long run rather than some sort of liquid/compressed gas fuel.)

              Unusual travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God. - Kurt Vonnegut

              by BobTrips on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 09:19:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  nothing in production (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                A Siegel

                or even more than a research lab developments, is near 40%  And there is no real evaluation of what the overall cost of such a system would be, until pilot runs are done the real cost of making those systems.

                I'm saying this as someone who has been in favor of and promoting solar power for 45 years.  The problem as I see it is that solar, like fusion power, is just a few more years away from commercial practicality; these optimist proclamations lead many people to claim that the solution is "here right now" when it's many Friedman Units away.

                So until I can look in a Digikey catalog and see cells based on one of those technologies for sale, I'm not counting on them. At the point I can buy them like that they will still be too expensive for mainstream power generation, but they've advanced to the point that I know they can be produced commercially and feel it's likely that they will get cheaper.

          •  Yeah... (0+ / 0-)

            ...and then you have to have more PV panels to provide
            energy to compress/liquify the hydrogen.

            Oh, and all that oxygen? Well, more PV panels to
            handle that, too.

            Better to invest in a short-term solution: alcohol
            fuel cells that have a higher energy conversion
            efficiency than internal combustion engines.

            But that's just one engineer's opinion...

            Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight.

            by JeffW on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 06:49:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Clearly I don't have the answer to those Qs (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greeseyparrot, sc kitty

        I thought it was  interesting, or failing that at the very least entertaining. Hopefully I was right on both fronts.

        As I posted, I haven't seen the thing. But it seems to have passed the laugh test, which is hard enough with these things.

        With regard to your specific questions, I wish I could see the plans so I knew myself what's being proposed here. Hard to really say anything useful without knowing the solution chemistry, the frequency/power of the signal, what sort of modulation, etc.

        Unlike the dude who posted below might think, I'm a scientist by training(physics and mathematics) and that means I'm not going to draw any conclusions without seeing the evidence. Apparently that's a liberal failing of mine.

        Not often I get attacked by the left.

    •  Yes, this is a total scam (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mother of Zeus

      and has been debunked a few times, basically there is no free lunch.

      "For me, walking into a nice Jewish deli IS a religious experience." -my mom

      by ETinKC on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 11:25:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Also geothermal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pb, Lefty Mama, sc kitty

    My understanding is that the Salton Sea area of south eastern California has enough geothermal energy to power the entire state plus for a thousand years. Yet it is rarely mentioned.

    "The survival value of intelligence is that it allows us to extinct a bad idea, before the idea extincts us." -- Karl Popper

    by eyeswideopen on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 12:17:38 AM PDT

    •  Salton Sea Geothermal (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pb, eyeswideopen, A Siegel

      A white paper on geothermal power from the Salton Sea area has estimates ranging from 2,300 to 25,000MW.  See Page 18 here.

      You might note the paper suggests splitting the difference while a study from the University of Utah of a somewhat larger area suggests a vastly greater potential.

      What are the facts?

      No one really knows.  The best are just guessing.

      What we do know is that geothermal is widely dissed despite its enormous potential.  The White House has zeroed out all funding for a "mature" technology and vows to veto Jerry McNerney's bill promoting hot dry rock geothermal.  As in the old Spike Jones record, Beetlebaum, geothermal is always mentioned last though it is the most likely winner in the race to do away with fossil fuels and nukes.

      Best,  Terry

      •  "Widely dissed" ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I am not sure why that.

        Geothermal is part of the equation and, potentially, could be a big part.

        But, what, was the MIT that it could be roughly 10% of current US electrical by mid-century?  That would be a great Silver BB, but a BB not "the" solution.  That is not "dissing", but trying to place into context.

        FYI -- to be clear, zeroing geothermal research is something I find absurd when we should be on a path to increasing energy/energy efficiency research by over an order of magnitude not just in the US, but globally.

        •  MIT Study Is Flawed IMO (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eyeswideopen, 4jkb4ia, wondering if

          It concentrated on hot dry rock technology that was abandoned in New Mexico decades ago.  Probably shouldn't have been but the problem is that the effort to create aquifers is quite different from utilizing aquifers already provided by nature.

          I have posted a white paper on the Salton Sea area that has estimates for potential power ranging from 2,300MW to over a million.  Which is right?  No one knows really.  The lower figure would make it much larger than the power output from The Geysers, still the largest in the world.

          What we do know is that geothermal development is widely ignored in this country despite providing more power than wind or solar and is baseload.

          Even Prof. Tester would probably tell you that all the expert opinion in the MIT study is strictly theoretical.

          What the study did do was to raise some awareness of geothermal that is sadly lacking.

          Best,  Terry

          •  Believe that we have a lot of overlap (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joe Bob

            but also that there is 'agree to disagree' ...

            I believe that

            • Research should continue (accelerate) re geothermal
            • Geothermal is underused for infrastructure heating/cooling -- and greater penetration should lower purchase cost which is a significant barrier
            • Geothermal is a valuable renewable energy source that can help move US off coal (and, with PHEVs, oil) -- but I don't see 100s of gigawatts in the coming decade.

            I do not, as of this time, see the Silver/Magic Bullet in geothermal that you so strongly advocate.  If it comes, wonderful, but I won't put all my eggs in that basket.

            •  A. Siegel: Don't Need All Eggs In One Basket (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              eyeswideopen, A Siegel

              Geothermal is my favorite form of alternative energy but hardly the only one.

              Anaerobic digesters are dissed too with somewhat more reason but have the ability to provide fuel as either CNG or ethanol while abating pollution of land, water and - ahem - air.

              Simple wood is a huge resource from waste wood supplying power plants to cellulosic ethanol to biodiesel.

              Wave power, algae biodiesel, etc., are very promising developments.

              We are only limited by our will.

              Take care, friend.  We are trapped by the gods decreeing that two thinking people will never agree.  Life is hard that way. :-)

              Best,  Terry

              •  That is the overlap part ... (0+ / 0-)

                I've picked up that you do believe in pursuing/developing many things.  But your strength of enthusiasm for geothermal is far stronger than mine ... but that could be due to my ignorance.

                PS:  I too see CHP, biomass, etc all as playing roles in a richer, more complex energy situation in the decades to come as we move to a sustainable energy posture.

              •  I did a diary on enhanced geothermal (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                A Siegel

                a while back.  I think it was pretty good, and the comments were fantastic.  It's here

                I am no expert on this, but it seems like, long term, it could be a major source.  

                •  Nice Diary, Thanks for the link. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  eyeswideopen, plf515

                  Hot dry rock (HDR) technology still has to be proven.  They are going bananas for it Down Under but then you know people there are upside down. :-)  

                  As with the little kid's boomerang, you can put the water down but it doesn't always come back.  All the efforts hearken back to a KGRA in New Mexico that the DOE abandoned about 20 years ago.  It began with permeability (flow) problems that may have also scotched a large-scale project in British Columbia that would have been Canada's first.

                  The most advanced HDR development is in Australia's Outback where obviously water is crucial.  There are some nice moving pitchers here
                  but a bit of skepticism is creeping in even in Australia.  Really do hope things go well.  This would be a huge advance.

                  Best,  Terry

        •  geothermal electrical generation (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel

          As I understand it, the reason geothermal is frequently dissed in regards to electrical generation is that in the vast majority of locales you just can't extract enough heat to effectively run any sort of generation process.

          For instance, where I live in the Upper Midwest the earth temperature below the frost line is in the 50-55 degrees Farenheit range. It's great for heating and cooling. However, you just can't create a very useful temperature differential with it. As it stands today, I think geothermal electrical generation requires a site with atypically high subsurface temperatures.

          Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

          by Joe Bob on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 10:52:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It depends (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joe Bob, eyeswideopen, A Siegel

            there's 'normal' geothermal, where you rely on shallow differentials, and then there's enhanced geothermal, where you dig a really deep hole (miles deep).  From the MIT report, the latter will work just about anywhere in the USA, although it works better in some places than others.  In my comment just above, I link to a big diary I did on this.

            Briefly - dig a deep deep hole.  Line it.  Run water through it.  Use the heat from the water to generate electricity.

          •  Geothermal Power (0+ / 0-)

            where I live in the Upper Midwest the earth temperature below the frost line is in the 50-55 degrees Farenheit range.

            It would be the same if you lived in the Arctic or a tropical climate at the equator.

            What does that have to do with geothermal power generation?

            The very first oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania where oil was seeping on the ground.

            Then when all the places around the world where oil was found seeping on the ground, the search for places to drill got a bit harder.

            Certain formations, such as salt domes, were drilled with reasonable success.  Then all the salt domes were drilled and people still wanted oil.

            "All those geophysicists do is show us wavy lines on a chart," my old geology professor said. "That's no way to find oil."  But it was those wavy lines on charts that led to geophysicists taking over the business of locating places to drill for oil because all the easy spots were exhausted.  Complex formations in Rocky Mountains suddenly began to yield their black treasure.

            Geothermal is pretty much at the primitive stage where oil was when only oil seeping on the ground told oil men where to drill. Hot springs and fossilized evidence of hot springs above ground, as well as fortuitious finds from oil and gas drilling, are the only means available today of locating KGRA's (Known Geothermal Resource Areas).

            Could use a bit of research.

            "No money for your mature technology," says the White House.  "We need it for wind and solar and oil and gas drilling."

            Priorities seem all wrong to me.

            How about you, Joe Bob?

            BTW this is rather comical.  

            The Glitnir Bank in Iceland that proposes spending up to $40B for geothermal power in the U.S. says there are almost no good prospects in Colorado.  

            But just looky here.

            September 10, 2007

            Colorado Looks Deeper into Geothermal Energy

            Studies indicate state's geothermal electric potential ranks 4th in the nation.

            Montrose, Colorado [

            Estimated to contain some of the best geothermal resources in the U.S., Colorado is trying to expand its geothermal development and catch up with other western states like Nevada and California that have begun to take advantage of their abundant resources.

            "Recent studies undertaken by the Colorado Geological Survey show that our state’s potential to generate clean, renewable ‘base load’ power using the earth’s heat is much greater than previously assumed," said Paul Bony, Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA)’s Manager of Marketing and Member Services.

            Who is lying?


            Both are just "estimating."

            I would be inclined to place my bets with the geologists in Colorado.  

            Best,  Terry

  •  coming online quickly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    javelina, sc kitty

    It sounds like multiple projects are completing within the next year or so, and they sound large enough to make a difference - if we build a lot more of them

    What is the cost of construction compared to wind turbines or coal plants?

    In a democracy, everyone is a politician. ~ Ehren Watada

    by Lefty Mama on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 12:18:54 AM PDT

  •  Puget Sound (4+ / 0-)

    Here's a recent link about tide and wave harvesting in the Pac North Wet.

    I seem to recall that a Scots company wanted to build a free 2nd Tacoma Narrows bridge if they could hang a tidal generator from it, but we chose a privately built toll bridge instead.

    But I can't find anything to back this up in Google.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 12:38:16 AM PDT

  •  all you smart people (5+ / 0-)

    i love these diaries about alternative/renewable energy!

    look what is happening in MY backyard -- not to mention what Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP wants to do.

    i'm just a lowly empty-nester housewife -- i hope the intelligent, vociferous people in my state will be able  to do something.  i can only do so much with LTE'S and my big mouth.  

    thank you, A. Siegel -- and all the rest of you that give me info and links on how to talk to people.

    •  Well at least there's an upside to SRS (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's part of the Megatons to Megawatts program, which disposes of nuclear bombs --Not comforting if it is your backyard, but a lot less dangerous to the world.  

      There is no upside to the KinderMorgan coal shipments.

  •  here in the UK (5+ / 0-)

    I live in Swansea and study in Bristol, both of which lie on the Bristol Channel, which has the second strongest tides of anywhere in the world. The reason, as was explained in a fascinating course of lectures last year, is due to superimposition of the tidal waves going around the world and the size of the gap between the Bristol Channel and the opposite coast in America.

    The tides cause two bulges - 1 pulling towards where the moon (and also towards the sun, about a third as much as the moon's pull) and one facing away from the moon, sagging because it has less gravitational pull. these two bulges orbit the earth daily, hence the two tides a day.

    The reason the Bristol Channel is interesting is because the wavelength of the tides (in the order of miles) fits into the distance between us and the other side of the Atlantic with a whole number of wavelengths. This causes a resonant frequency, much like when an opera singer smashes a glass with a particular note. A resonant frequency has a much higher amplitude than a normal frequency wave, which causes tide changes of up to 14m here. The famous Severn Estuary Bore, a small 3m tidal wave every few months, is caused by this giant change in power.

    There's been plans for almost a century to put a barrage into the Channel but there's a new scheme potentially being tested over the next few years near my hometown of Swansea. Instead of a barrage all across the channel, there's a plan to put a ring, maybe a mile wide, out in the sea. When the tide rises the water fills the ring, then the doors letting the water in are closed at high tide. At low tide, when the potential energy of the water in the ring is highest, the doors open, leaving the water sluicing through the gates and powering turbines.

    It's interesting to note that technically tidal power is not sustainable - by harvesting the power of the moon you actually reduce the power of the tides by some tiny amount. It's negligible but if we harvested the tides for many millions of years, we'd actually slow the Earth's rotation! Eventually the Moon and Earth would end up facing each other in the same way forever, as the moon already does.

    follow my world without oil!

    by darrkespur on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 01:30:24 AM PDT

    •  Fascinating point about tides not being (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel

      sustainable. I don't follow why harvesting power from the tides would slow the Earth's rotation, but I'll take your word for it for now. :)  It's a reminder, on a grand scale, that everything we do affects the planet.

      Fortunately, within the next million years, I think we can assume human high-tech societies will either have disappearedor developed more sophisticated ways of producing electricity. (Though fusion may still be just a few years away.)

  •  Thanks for the hope, A Siegel (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, cotterperson

    It's good to know that there are viable options already out there.

  •  Recommended tag added (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, A Siegel

    Dropped "ocean energy" / "ocean power", as they turned up as singletons and "wave power" was the one that already existed. (Of course they can always be put back if the author or someone else objects.) Tag scorecard:

    2842  global warming
     213  Energize America
     206  renewable energy
      11  energy cool
       4  wave power

    The Dutch children's choir Kinderen voor Kinderen (= “children for children”) is a world cultural treasure.

    by lotlizard on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 03:23:59 AM PDT

  •  Tidal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    Have heard both SF Bay area AND the Hudson Bay area (or East River...can't remember) around NYC are experimenting with tidal of some sort and they are so successful both projects want to expand ASAP. The San Francisco Bay area wants to supply all it's energy from tidal, which should mean tidal has a significant contribution to make to our energy plans. Sounds like it is starting to get beyond R+D. Any info on this?

    Seems to me with excellent wind resources (Great Plains states could be energy exporters with just wind, and many Midwest farms and upstate NY farms are finding wind lucrative for them), solar (not major just yet, but...), geothermal (overall small, but locally siginificant?), waste energy (already quite viable), hydroelectric (has its own issues, but so will EVERY source of energy), and biofuels (there are some very good and some not so good versions of this...corn based fuels aren't the only option!), and tidal coming in, it seems like we have the tools we need to deal with global warming.

  •  A vitual pony for your ego (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    javelina, A Siegel

    All of the other topics discussed on DKOS pale in comparison with the importance of sustainability in the long run. Your efforts here are enormously appreciated. May you always have fair winds and tides in this endeavor.

  •  Salt ignited with the radio-frequency (0+ / 0-)

    Rustum Roy, a Penn State University chemist, held a demonstration last week at the university's Materials Research Laboratory in State College, to confirm what he'd witnessed weeks before in an Erie lab.

    "It's true, it works," Dr. Roy said. Everyone told me, 'Rustum, don't be fooled. He put electrodes in there.' "

    But there are no electrodes and no gimmicks, he said.

    Dr. Roy said the salt water isn't burning per se, despite appearances. The radio frequency actually weakens bonds holding together the constituents of salt water -- sodium chloride, hydrogen and oxygen -- and releases the hydrogen, which, once ignited, burns continuously when exposed to the RF energy field.


    As such, Dr. Roy, a founding member of the Materials Research Laboratory and expert in water structure, said Mr. Kanzius' discovery represents "the most remarkable in water science in 100 years."

    Dr. Roy said he's scheduled to meet tomorrow with U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Defense officials in Washington to discuss the discovery and seek research funding.


  •  Funny how directly or indirectly, nearly ALL (6+ / 0-)

    energy at our disposal is ultimately solar energy. Some is immediate and direct--e.g. solar panels--some is semi-immediate and semi-direct--e.g. tidal, wind--and some is not at all immediate and direct--e.g. all those dead dinosaurs and trees and whatnot from millions of years ago that ultimately fed on the sun's rays, turned it into organic energy, then got turned into coal and oil by pressure and heat--nature's ultimate battery. I think that only geothermal and nuclear energy are not derived from the sun. Oh, and whatever makes Evil Cheney tick.

    And yet we still haven't figured how to tap the sun's more immediate energy, in a political and economic sense, as the technology's all there, and those batteries are running out rapidly and causing a huge stink and mess in the process. That energizer bunny's going, going...

  •  Cool! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, A Siegel

    Maybe it'll be low enough profile that even the Cape Wind opponents won't mind it.

    Another good renewable energy site here:
    (Full disclosure: I'm very close to the writer)

  •  Is there a hidden environmental cost? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, A Siegel, wondering if

    You may or may not know this about hydroelectric power, but by tapping the energy of moving water upstream, we cause the water downstream to move more slowly.  Slow moving water dumps any silt it may be carrying, resulting in shallower rivers with broader beds.  Slow moving water is less turbulent, thus carrying less oxygen to the lower levels of the river, and creating anoxic environments which can't sustain the organisms trying to make a living downstream.  In other words, there is an environmental cost to hydroelectric power that is not immediately obvious.

    So, does tidal power play any role in the ecosystem of coastal life?  And would tapping tidal power have an effect on that life?  And how would changes in that life affect us?

    "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." H. L. Mencken

    by David R on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 05:33:03 AM PDT

  •  Here's another one from Australia... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    This approach is unique in that the buoys pump high-pressure seawater through pipelines up onto shore, where the electricity is generated.  It reduces maintenance costs to split things up like this, but of course you need pipelines for high pressure seawater.

    The other thing that you get out of this is that instead of generating electricity, you can use the high-pressure seawater with reverse-osmosis filters for a way of doing desalination that doesn't require any other external energy inputs.

  •  Dailykos has the freightworks ad up again (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, A Siegel

    Like I've said before, this is probably a  front group for coal and nafta groups. Here's a link discussing the ad's sponsor, GoRail, meeting with the Texas Corridor Groups:  

    These groups are asking us to subsidize coal and container shipments from Asia that go to utilities and WalMart. We do not need to make coal cheaper. We can support rail through supporting existing loan programs through the RRIF to shortline RR's.

  •  I'm very interested in the Solar Tower being (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, wondering if

    built in Australia, I haven't heard much about it lately, but as I remember its supposed to produce around 200 MW, around the clock. This is a link, but if it doesn't work, just goggle for solar turbine.

    •  Last I heard ... (0+ / 0-)

      was that there was a negotiation underway (discussion?) about doing one in Texas.

    •  One Step Farther (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KiaRioGrl79, A Siegel, wondering if
      The project you cite uses solar to heat air which rises and is forced through turbines to produce electricity.

      I saw a report a couple of years ago where some Israeli had proposed building towers a mile or so high that would use solar to evaporate fresh water from sea water, which would then rise, be collected at the top, and then run through a turbine as it fell back to earth. This would have the double effect of producing clean water and electrical power at the same time.

      -- You are all individuals! -- I'm not! -- Shut up! Be quiet!

      by Skjellifetti on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 09:27:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can I get a "NO. MORE. COAL!!!"? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lale, Easy B Oven, KiaRioGrl79, A Siegel, Grass

    Surface Mined areas of Appalachia

    Poverty in surface mined areas

    The legacy coal leaves for our children:

    Go here to see areas that have been mined by mountaintop removal and strip mining in sattelite imagery using GoogleEarth.

    "If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide." Abe Lincoln

    by faithfull on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 06:44:24 AM PDT

  •  Great Stuff! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ericy, tryptamine, KiaRioGrl79, A Siegel
    I work in PV and I always bridle at the search for a magic bullet.  There isn't one.  The fact is that the energy density of fossil fuels is so great and we use so much of it that there is no single source that is ever going to be a substitute.  Instead, we need to look to a significantly less profligate way of living coupled with a patchwork quilt composed of every available alternative source that we can successfully develop.  And, in my view, a slow contraction of global population.  Pretty tall order to do that peacefully.
    •  In agreement ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KiaRioGrl79, MarketTrustee

      No magic bullet, lots of helpful steps and many useful major elements ...

      Three parts re energy:

      • Changed usage patterns/expectations (do people really need to leave so many lights on all night? Air conditioning to 68 degrees rather than 78? (Note, my household has not turned on airconditioning in over a month with much of the time in 90s ... Fans, shades, light clothing ...)
      • Efficiency of usage (efficiency in production, transmission, and end-use)
      • Move to renewables for remaining energy requirements

      And, well, long-term ... hard to see how Globe supports 9-10 billion people, indefinitely, at a 'decent' lifestyle.

      By the way, "significantly less profligate" is a good phrase -- not that people can't have good lives but that they should not have wasteful ones.

      •  Don't omit storage from that list (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KiaRioGrl79, A Siegel, wondering if

        Many of the alternate energy sources under research are inconsistent and immovable.  The sun doesn't shine all day, the wind doesn't blow constantly, and the tides come and go.  How the energy from peak periods is stored for use during lean periods has to be a major and concurrent field of study.

        •  Storage / usage pattern change ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          should have been in parentheses after renewable energy ... create paths for exploiting excess power (imagine every single refrigerator & air conditioning system in this country with some degree of ice making/storage which then is used for cooling when there are more demands for power/less power available) and more effective/lower cost storage (for solar, wind, etc ... to cover intermittency). Thank you for catching the oversight.

  •  All energy is derived ultmately from solar... (0+ / 0-)

    wind, geothermal, tidal, hydro all occurs from energy that the sun sends out. Tidal power is just one more in a list of replacements for coal.

    •  Radiation? (0+ / 0-)


      Is not tidal based primarily on gravitational from the moon ...

      Hmmmm ...

      Certainly true for solar, wind, bio-mass, fossil fuel ...

      •  I'm just looking at the long-term... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        without the sun, there would be no atmosphere and no water on earth. No heat in the earth's core. Hence, no tidal, wave or hydro power. It all comes from the sun...

      •  Great diary, BTW, went to your panel at ykos (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RunawayRose, A Siegel

        it was the BEST..

      •  geothermal financing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        link to bulletin and Glitnir Bank pdf, "US Geothermal Energy Market Report". icelandic capital looking for joint ventures in US. blogger's summary of case for replacing coal-fired plants:

        total capacity: installed capacity ~2,851 MW is <10% of 30K MW surveyed, excluding exploration of hot dry rock or deep geothermal/EGS.</p>

        comparative regional advantage: greatest potential for geothermal energy applications in electricity production (share) is in CA (20%), NV (60%), ID (17%), OR (?), HI (30%).

        minimum investment: additional 15,400 MW estimated to cost $39B by 2025.

        market value: retail sales of geothermal powered electricity expected to increase from $1.8Bto $11.0B p.a., excluding direct use applications, e.g. geothermal heat pumps.

        time to market: unmet demand for high-capacity drilling equipment and related human resources mitigated somewhat by capital risk associated with oil exploration

        Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

        by MarketTrustee on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 08:45:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re: Geothermal Financing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Does it strike anyone else as rather out of whack that one small bank in Iceland proposes to spend some $40B of its money on geothermal power projects in this country while supplicants from MIT boldly propose that the government spend some $1B dollars  of borrowed money on speculative research?

          Oregon has perhaps as much potential for geothermal development as Nevada but has no active development at all while development in Nevada is very active.

          How can that be considering Oregon is the most environmentally conscious state in the nation?  That may be part of the explanation.

          Meet Jaws II, one tough little mother.  I suppose a dwarf desert minnow deserves protection in his hot lake but there might be better ways of doing it.

          Then there is this stirring tale from Wao Kele O Puna in Hawaii here.

          Palikapu Dedman, president of the Pele Defense Fund and a leader in the years-long effort to stop geothermal development at Wao Kele O Puna, choked back tears as he described the arrests at the site 16 years ago.

          "I gotta start by thanking about 400 people that got arrested. A lot of kupunas got arrested, and about 13 children," he said, his voice breaking. "We was just being ourselves as native people. It's been an emotional journey."

          Warms the heart as well as the planet.

          Best,  Terry

  •  Google "Stanley Meyer" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    Back in 1990, a man named Stanley Meyer claimed to have invented a cheap method for breaking WATER into Hydrogen and Oxygen. Mr. Meyer was granted a number of patents on his process. Those patents expired in June of this year. The information in those patents are now part of the public domain.
    Anyone can use that information.

    Another gentleman, named David Lawton has duplicated the device that Stanley Meyer used in his patent applications. The full details and plans can be found at

    H2earth is a non-profit organization that seeks to share that information with as many people as possible. Take a look.

  •  S.P.E.C.T.R.E. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    We live under spector of September 11th

    You misspelled Arlen SPECTRE. He's as irrational as 9/11 (0.81818181...), and as transient as a ghostly spook network.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 07:38:48 AM PDT

  •  Killing Two Birds With One Buoy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4jkb4ia, A Siegel

    These "self-winding buoys" would take their power from the waves, which would settle the waves a little bit. Negligibly out in deeper water, where there's so much more power moving  through the water.

    But closer to shore, in the shallows, I wonder whether they could dampen erosive wave action that currently wears away beaches, waterfront homes and other coastlines. Which wear is typically replaced at great energy expense. So they could both generate power, and save the energy consumed when rebuilding.

    A really interesting app could use their power to not just measure and report by radio the energetics (including storms) out at the buoy, but possibly power some storm mitigations. A large network might be able to power dams and baffles resisting storm surges. Without consuming all the extra energy to use boats every time a storm threatens. And, if built correctly, the emergency barriers could even absorb some storm energy into storage for later use or exporting back to the land.

    What would be really useful to this tech would be a machine that forced the mechanical energy in moving water more directly into chemical bonds in fuel consumable in an efficient fuelcell. The current dynamo and battery setups probably waste at least 2/3 of what's captured before it's reused as mechanical energy the storage battery eventually powers. Maybe nanoturbines in a manifold material cracking water, though the H2 from that process isn't as densely or safely storable as liquids like ethanol. The problem isn't generation efficiency, because there's so much more energy in the moving water to capture. The problem is that the storage is much more manageable, especially as ballast, with liquid fuel than electric charge. And the dynamo's moving parts, rather than some chemical (or nanomechanical) processing means a much shorter lifetime per energy input to manufacture, deploy, maintain, retire and recycle the buoy.

    This system is very promising. I hope quite a lot of diverse experimenters try all kinds of ways to use it. So I hope someone doesn't vaguely patent the basic gizmo, or even worse the basic process or application, monopolizing the market and research for the minimum production at the highest prices. This is the kind of "progress in science and the useful arts" that the Constitution was designed to protect, not stifle, with "temporary" exclusivity.

    Let's get to work! I volunteer to test it :).

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 07:56:56 AM PDT

  •  What about damage to marine habitats/life (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, A Siegel, wondering if

    Most tidal power systems to date have been great at killing aquatic life and screwing up the local ecosystem they inhabit.

    Turbine system are by far the worst, the blades block marine life and can kill those who become ensnared in the blades.

    The buoy system is interesting, but you're still talking about putting down a significant infrastructure down on the sea floor. With all the collateral destruction the entails.

    Corrosion is a problem, which leads to the use of resistant substances, many such substances are toxic once the do break down.

    I'm not saying it's not worth looking into. But there is no free lunch and these initiatives usually look a hell of a lot greener on the drawer board than they are once they're put into live use.

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

    by Windowdog on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 08:02:50 AM PDT

    •  Well ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tryptamine, elfling
      1.  Tidal barrier is different than others.
      1.  Slow-turning turbines that are not part of a barrier/dam look to be different in terms of impact.
      1.  Dependent on siting, infrastructure can actually aid.  My understanding is that off-shore wind turbines are creating good micro eco-systems for fish life.
      1.  In any event, you are right ... need to be tracked/examined/considered in terms of implications throughout their life-cycles.
  •  Deep geothermal and wind kites (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    Nice post! Keep up the good work.  I hope in your series you plan to devote something to deep geothermal plants and wind kites.  THere is much to be gained energetically from both.

  •  Other Marine Power Sources (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    There's also a UK-based company called Marine Current Turbines that has made some interesting strides. Basically taking the windmill under water.

    Melissa Hart is gone - thank you Chris Bowers

    by surfbird007 on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 09:01:01 AM PDT

  •  Why we need to get serious. Very, very serious.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    profgoose, A Siegel

    The Oil Drum - a web site that focuses on oil supply and demand around the world has a great article that should open a few eyes.

    People on the site are very concerned with "peak oil" - the point where we will find our supplies no longer increasing due to new discoveries, but decreasing.

    Here's a great analysis of the problem we face if we don't get very busy with developing new energy sources.

    When is Global Peak Energy?

    Unusual travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God. - Kurt Vonnegut

    by BobTrips on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 09:30:52 AM PDT

  •  great article, I've posted links to it elsewhere (0+ / 0-)
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