Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Energy from San Francisco's tides

Tidal currents are strong in San Francisco's Golden Gate, why not harness them to produce clean energy? So says the Mayor, and he's backing the idea with a feasability study.

It's an idea who's time has come, and new tide energy enterprises are sprouting.

Ocean tides are interesting in how the vary around the globe, how they affect ocean animals, and most importantly, how opposing wind and tide make for great windsurfing.

3 comments:

Gary Sprague said...

But is it clean energy?
At this point in time the environmental impacts are unknown. Good comprehensive studies must be conducted to determine whether there are impacts or not. With tip speeds of up to 35 mph it appears that there is the possibility that fish, marine mammals, and diving birds may be impacted. It is also possible that these projects may reduce flows and affect currents and circulation patterns.

FYI, there are 13 proposals for marine energy projects in Washington State. Ten of these are located in Puget Sound. The largest proposal is for 1,600 turbines (each up to 60 feet in diameter) to be located in Admiralty Inlet. Other projects are proposed for the Columbia River, Willipa Bay, the Tacoma Narrows, and Deception Pass. The Makah Bay project is a wave energy project, the rest are proposed to be similar to large propellers or underwater windmills.

Mark Powell said...

Gary,
Agreed, we need to know more about impacts before we embrace tide power. Hydropower dams were once thought to be green and clean, and now we know that there are serious impacts to rivers and fish.
Mark

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