New Power Source Catches a Wave: Ocean Tides

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2009 1:37 PM CST
New Power Source Catches a Wave: Ocean Tides
A scale model built by the Army Corps of Engineers for a proposed New Deal project to build hydroelectric dams in Eastport, Maine.   (AP Photo)

In the search for renewable energy, Europe and the US are turning to one of the earth’s most abundant resources—the tides, Bloomberg reports. Technology developed three decades ago to turn tidal energy into electricity in developing countries is finally finding traction in the West. The largest grid-connected turbine, able to power 1,140 homes, is currently undergoing testing in Scotland.

“In the 1970s, the big snag was the market for that technology consisted of people with no money,” the turbine’s inventor said. “Now it’s clear governments are gagging for new renewable energy technology.” It’s not cheap, or easy: tidal power costs 3 times more than carbon energy, and the turbines must stand up to taxing conditions. But incentives are encouraging the industry to expand, which will make it more efficient. “Once we’re able to go for bigger projects, the cost will come down,” the inventor said. (More green energy stories.)

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