June 22, 2010 - news roundup; tidal paddling

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Continuing the energy/adventure theme: a project I'm working on kept me in the office later than I'd hoped last night. I still wanted to go paddling, so I decided to stay close to home and head to Sewall Pond. As I approached, I saw quite a few rescue vehicles parked at the boat launch, and emergency personnel with a long rescue rake. Today's news told me that there was a missing person, possibly drowned. The professional rescuers appeared to be wrapping up their operation, so rather than volunteer my kayak and get in the way, I continued on to the head of Robinhood Cove.
From Energy Policy Update

From the boat launch, I paddled through the remains of the tide mill on the western finger, then back around and up the eastern finger of the cove. From the harbor, the eastern finger heads about a quarter-mile south beneath pine-topped vertical-sided cliffs, then jogs left and enters a more open bay. It's a beautiful area, hidden from the state road and surprisingly undeveloped.

I entered the cove just at the top of high tide. As I set off, the tide was perceptibly flowing into the secret bay. Where the southward gorge jogged left and opened up into the bay, the tidal current set up powerful eddies. From my whitewater kayaking experience, I know that when turbulent water catches the side of your boat, it is easy to be spun around or even flip. Last night's adventure was relatively moderate, but several times I did place a paddle right into an eddy, feeling that disconcerting feeling of no resistance as the eddy swirled in the same direction as my stroke. This is a good illustration of a common challenge facing tidal and hydrokinetic power projects: avoiding turbulence and keeping a nice, smooth laminar flow.

News roundup:

A report in Business Week that any federal carbon plan may be limited to the electricity generation sector, rather than the ambitious economy-wide carbon cap/tax that has been discussed.

An editorial in the Purdue (Indiana) Exponent arguing in favor of implementing a renewable portfolio standard to keep renewable power in the state.

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