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Harness the Sea - National Geographic June 2011- Tidal / Wave power generation

In view of the German decision to end their nuclear power generation, I think this could be an interesting topic for discussion. It is short, to the point and well illustrated.

Ocean Power - Harness the Sea -—Juli Berwald NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

If you’ve ever been pummelled by a wave at the beach, you know that moving water packs a wallop. The Electric Power Research Institute estimates that wave and tidal energy could supply 7 percent of the electricity for the United States—and in the United Kingdom, that contribution could be double. Engineers are designing all sorts of devices to tap this clean, renewable energy: “snakes” that jiggle over the water’s surface, buoys that bob with the swell, and turbines that spin in the current. (Items illustrated here show the diversity of wave power devices but wouldn’t be implemented together.)

Since populations are often concentrated near coasts, energy from moving water can be produced close to where it’s needed. And unlike wind energy, dependent on inconsistent gusts, this technology is as predictable as the tides. Technical and financial hurdles still exist, but projects are in the works for waters off Maine, New York, Oregon, Canada, and Scotland. Ocean power farms might be just over the horizon. —Juli Berwald

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