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Power United States

Obama Administration Tests the Waters With Ocean Power Startups 144

Posted by Soulskill
from the wave-of-the-future dept.
Stirfry192 sends this excerpt from an article discussing the Obama Administration's funding of renewable energy projects that are experimenting with hydrokinetics: "Currently, the Department of Energy has a mandate to spend $50 million a year on backing such research. For its part, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved 72 permits for pilot projects over the past two years , according to its records. Ocean Renewable Energy Power Company, LLC , which has plans to build the largest ocean-based system in the U.S., is one of the companies that has won such funding. ... Virtually all hydrokinetic turbines resemble giant manual lawnmowers, a design patented by Alexander Gorlov of Northeastern University in 2001. [CEO Chris Sauer] calls what his company uses an 'advance cross-flow' model, and he says each of his 150 kilowatt units could power 50 to 75 homes. ... The company plans to install one of its 150 kilowatt turbines this year, and four next year, anchoring them near the floor of the bay, and progressively build out to 3.2 megawatts by 2014. The system would tie into Bangor Hydro Electric Co. grid."
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Obama Administration Tests the Waters With Ocean Power Startups

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  • by cvtan (752695) on Friday July 22, 2011 @06:27PM (#36852738)
    My cyber-warfare-enabled endangered snails will bring this project to its knees! or something about not doing it on porpoise just for the halibut. Never mind.
  • One word: biofouling. [wikipedia.org]

    • One hypenated word: anti-biofouling.

      You may have heard of it, it's the second section on that wiki page you cited. I skimmed it. It does not say "Impossible, abandon all hope."
      • WRT "hypenated":

        Is this a typo or a neologism? This could be the most significant portmanteau word added to English this Summer.

        Unfortunately its usage in the original post inappropriately weakens that post's point. "Anti-biofouling" is indeed hyphenated but by no means should it be considered hyperbole.

        • This could be the most significant portmanteau word added to English this Summer.

          No, it's the most significant language-nazi trolling I've done this summer.

          • Wow, I just learned something significant.

            For all the years that there have been language-nazi trolls on slashdot, I for reasons I cannot explain always assumed that they would not engage in the creation of neologisms or new portmanteau words. I stand corrected.

            So even for the language-nazis among us, the English of our forefathers is just not quite good enough for today's communications.

    • by Isaac-1 (233099)

      Not just biofouling, but also corrosion, any metal you place around sea water will corrode, this thing is big, lots of required metal parts, in a highly corrosive environment, your $$$ per watt over the life of the unit would likely be lower with almost any other form of alternative power generation. I am all for tidal power in theory, but this is not it.

      • by goodmanj (234846)

        Corrosion is a solved problem. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_anode [wikipedia.org]

    • One word: biofouling.

      Somebody call Mike Rowe.

  • So if they build a bunch of these will it cause any issues with tides, speed of rotation of the earth or anything?

    • by jfengel (409917)

      They'd have to build billions of them to have a noticeable effect. They have to be built fairly close to land; otherwise you can't get the power where you need it. The shorelines are a trivial fraction of the ocean, so even if you covered every shore with them you wouldn't absorb enough tidal energy to affect the motion of the earth.

      Unlike the atmosphere, a thin layer of very non-dense air, you're talking about the motion of the entire earth, a vastly larger amount of mass, by a half-dozen orders of magni

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That is also true for poisoning the entire atmosphere. Doesn't mean it's a good idea. ;)

        I think: Why do it, when you can do something that is not only way better, cheaper, easier to repair and environmentally friendly, but even has a positive effect on the environment!
        I talk about Project Desertec [wikipedia.org]. (Concentrated solar power in the south + pumped-storage hydroelectricity in the north, with high-voltage DC wires in-between.)

        The mirrors have been found to collect a bit of water from the air, and shade the sand

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They use waves, not tides to generate power.

  • by Osgeld (1900440)

    that is less than a fraction of the Constellation program and it might produce results that benifits mankind here on earth for generations, and not some future man in year 3000 on Uranus

  • There's an odd little paradox I've thought about. Why is it that California, a bastion of environmentalism, large bulging government, and tons of regulation, has such a relatively robust economy compared to most other US states? Cheap labor? No, there's lots of migrant workers in the US. Perhaps it's ready access to electricity and oil? No, California is pretty notorious for having higher electricity and gas prices.

    Maybe, then, it has something to do with recycling. Consider Japan which has virtually

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      California's economy comes from three places. Silicon Valley etc., Hollywood, and the underground black market economy dealing in trading illegal goods; just one of those goods surpassed wine last year (if not sooner) and continues to gain popularity. It has nothing to do with recycling, which is an expensive boondoggle. We lost a waste transfer plant because it could not afford to continue to operate if it has to separate people's trash. It costs more energy to recycle glass than to make new glass; we ough

      • Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and the black market combined don't break the top 3. The top 3 in CA economy [wikipedia.org] are Real Estate, Education/Health care, Trade/Transportation/Utilities. #4 is probably government, at 12%, depending on how you count the black market and Silicon Valley values.

        I was curious about how things stack up and was shocked to see agriculture at 2%. I figured it would be much higher.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Real Estate is bullshit, however; it mostly involves shuffling of money from one party to another without actually doing any work. It's these other items that permit the state to exist; without the items I mentioned California would exist basically to operate ports. Los Angeles exists in its current form because of Hollywood, for example.

  • by russotto (537200) on Friday July 22, 2011 @09:16PM (#36853884) Journal

    3.2 megawatts in 2 years? Great job, guys. In 200 years you might be able to replace a coal plant.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      3.2 megawatts for a pilot project is perfectly reasonable, if it works as well as hoped they'll apply for permits to build more, and probably be granted the permits.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      This is like saying "put a man in space in 2 years? Great job, guys. In 200 years you might be able to put a man on the moon."

      Technology does not tend to scale linearly. Like Moore's Law these things increase exponentially.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wanted to throw out some puns to counter the one in the title, but I got nothing.

    You might even say that I...

    Yeah I got nothing.

  • Point-of-use energy energy generation offers the American people the opportunity for independence from the energy monopolies and the private taxes that they levy (they call those private taxes "profit"). Important, in an era of artificially suppressed wages. Additionally, point-of-use energy offers the opportunity to defund the nastiest of our politicians...a good thing, in a democracy. So support it! [harvard.edu].
    • energy monopolies and the private taxes that they levy (they call those private taxes "profit")

      It should be noted that your so-called "private taxes" differ from real taxes in one significant way - the energy monopolies can't throw you in jail for not paying them.

      Though, I'm curious - do you actually believe that the people who manufacture the hardware you'll be using for your point-of-use energy generation won't be making a profit when they sell them to you?

      • It should be noted that your so-called "private taxes" differ from real taxes in one significant way - the energy monopolies can't throw you in jail for not paying them.

        Though, I'm curious - do you actually believe that the people who manufacture the hardware you'll be using for your point-of-use energy generation won't be making a profit when they sell them to you?

        I would think (particularly given the increasingly "conservatively" corrupt state of the SCOTUS) that you should have appended "yet" to your first sentence...and they can already use liens and court judgements that yield garnishments to throw you out of your residence (or even an apartment...you won't be able to stay in yours if enough is being garnished to make you incapable of meeting your expenses), which can be a fate worse than jail given the hazards of exposure to the elements, crime, etc.

        Regarding y

        • and they can already use liens and court judgements that yield garnishments to throw you out of your residence

          Only if you buy their product and refuse to pay for it.

          Which isn't quite the same as "refuse to pay your taxes"...

          Regarding your second sentence, there is a big difference between a one-off payment to purchase an energy source and what the energy monopolies do in the way of raising rates/prices whenever the CEO of some corporation in the energy harvesting, generation, or distribution system or a s

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