Unless you live in Maine, or read today’s Boston Globe, what follows may be unfamiliar to you. It was to me.
Yesterday, our country’s first tidal energy project was dedicated in Eastport, Maine. The concept is really quite interesting.
Eastport is located on Cobscook Bay, which has dramatic and powerful tides that rise and fall some 20 feet over a 12-hour cycle. When tides are at their strongest, the water can move as fast as 6 knots, or about 7 miles an hour.
The energy unleashed by those strong tides will be captured by a rotating turbine at the ocean’s bottom that powers a generator. The plan is to have 20 of these turbines on the ocean floor that, according to the developer, Ocean Renewable Power Co. of Maine, will produce enough power to electrify approximately 1200 homes.
Right now, only one turbine will be placed in operation generating enough power for 25 homes. I know, the math doesn’t work, but, perhaps turbines yet unborn will have greater generating capacity.
Under a long term contract with three Maine utilities, the electricity from the project,
…will be sold to three Maine utilities for a starting price of 21.5 cents a kilowatt hour, or nearly double Maine’s average electricity price of 11.21 cents per kilowatt hour. [emphasis supplied]
According to the article, the project,
… is the product of several years and [$21] million…dollars in investment by Ocean Renewable Power’s backers and the Department of Energy. [emphasis supplied]
I’m wondering, though, since the Department of Energy “invested” your money in this project, will the Department of Energy, and thus you, get any return on that investment? Or is this yet another example of the federal government “investing” your money in an enterprise where all those evil profits go to the enterprise, not you?
The article is silent on this point.