Tidal energy?

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.


16 replies
  1. GdavidH
    GdavidH says:

    So the NIMBY liberals won’t be able to see the windmills?
    What about the tasty lobsters that will be blown around and chewed up by the evil blades of death? Just as the price of lobster was finally lower than that of Baloney.?

  2. ricbee
    ricbee says:

    If the Utility is paying double so are it’s customers. Another Pie-in-the-sky goes down into the drink.

  3. JBS
    JBS says:

    I just want to know where the DNC contribution connection is. Are the principals in this “renewable energy” scheme Democrats?
    So, when is the DOE going to announce a billion dollar loan for this latest project? (The DNC is hungry for money!) Once the loan is in hand, Obama can visit (he is the harbinger of economic doom) and then they can declare bankruptcy. Neat, clean and gone from the scene. Not even a ripple.
    With a ten-digit bank account balance . . .
    Call me cynical, but . . . O.K., O.K., don’t all shout at once!

  4. Twobyfour
    Twobyfour says:

    Tidal energy is an unlimited renewable resource unless the moon is knocked from orbit so?this is the continuation of an alternate energy source that’s over 40 years old. Just another brick in the wall of weaning ourselves from oil and natural gas.?

    • JBS
      JBS says:

      So, there will only be electricity generated when the tide changes?
      Hmmmmmm . . . there is a huge sucking sound here!

  5. kateinmaine
    kateinmaine says:

    tidal energy is a viable alternative energy source–much like ‘old-school’ hydroelectric.? unfortunately for this group, it looks like another folly.? capturing tidal energy is far more efficient at the surface, not the bottom.? as with any alternative generation source, the problem is transfer and storage.? until that is effectively solved, it’s all spitting in the wind. . .
    of course we know that the partnership will pocket the revenues, not pass them back to the public–isn’t that the point of business?? to make money?? same thing happened with the cape/nantucket sound wind project that (fat, dead) ted kennedy fought so vehemently.? yes, it would have diminished his property values by destroying the view (which is a moot point, as the compound is in the process of becoming a not for profit/national park [pre slash is factual, post slash is personal invective].? what would have silenced uber-green ted would have been a slice of the pie–pity no one thought of it.? guess they figured he’d die.? . .? ah well, gave them lots of free press.

  6. Anybody but Obama
    Anybody but Obama says:

    Wind turbines kill birds, oil drilling kills lizards, tidal energy will kill sea creatures

  7. gillie28
    gillie28 says:

    Sos, you wrote: “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?”

    Hopefully, it will be at least a “wash” or we’ll be “sea-ing” more energetic power against O.

    Seriously, solar panels are required on new builds over here and they work pretty well.???The prices (in US anyway) need to come down a lot and private companies should invest NOT the government.? Think when gvt invested in co’s. like Syllindra (spelling) it just encouraged self-indugence by co. execs because it wasn’t THEIR money to oversee.

    • Lynn
      Lynn says:

      I’m with Gillie. We still need to drill baby drill, but I think solar is the best way to go. I’m not holding my breath about getting any return on “our” investment.

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