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Tidal Energy Continues to Entice

November 29th, 2010

LOS ANGELES (United Press International) – Tapping the Earth’s ocean tides for affordable, renewable energy could ultimately meet 10 percent of America’s electricity needs, advocates say.

While widespread use may be years off, supporters say tides and other hydrokinetic systems, from ocean waves to free-flowing rivers, could eventually provide more electricity than hydropower dams now supply, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

Last month a company called Ocean Power Technologies connected a small test buoy in the swells off Oahu to the power grid that serves the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, a first for a wave energy device in U.S. waters.

“We have demonstrated that our technology works, that it can survive in harsh ocean conditions and can deliver high-quality power to the grid,” Robert Lurie, a vice president of New Jersey-based Ocean Power, said.

Next year the company intends to anchor a larger power-generating buoy in the waves off Reedsport, Ore.

Their ultimate goal, Lurie said, is to build “multi-buoy wave farms” generating enough power to light 50,000 homes.

Tidal power projects or studies are being considered in Hawaii, Washington, Alaska, Florida, California, Oregon and Maine, in New York City’s East River, along the Mississippi River and elsewhere.

“These are coastal resources, and most people live along the coasts,” Hoyt Battey, a water power expert at the U.S. Energy Department, says. “When you’re talking about providing half the power of Alaska or Hawaii, or half the power of New York, that’s significant.”

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Written by UPI Staff Writers

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