June 23, 2011 - where are the coastal hydrokinetic projects?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Continuing my look at hydrokinetic energy conversion, let's look at where FERC has issued preliminary permits for coastal hydrokinetic projects.

What this local waterfall in the coastal Maine woods lacks in usable power is made up for by its charm.

A hydrokinetic project generates electricity from moving water without a dam: tides, waves, ocean currents, or unimpounded rivers.  FERC has issued 70 preliminary permits for hydrokinetic projects, half of which are for inland projects on rivers, mostly on the lower Mississippi.  The other half of preliminary permits are for coastal projects.  Of these, 27 permits are for tidal projects, with another 8 permits for wave-powered projects.

The ocean's waves can provide significant amounts of power, particularly in certain areas of the coastline.  The Pacific coasts of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California are home to seven of the 8 preliminary permits for wave projects, with Hawaii hosting the eighth.

Tidal power is behind the remaining preliminary permits for hydrokinetic projects.  These projects are clustered along the northern half of both U.S. coasts.  Maine is home to 8 preliminary permits, with 4 more in New York, 4 in New Jersey, and one each in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  Alaska sports 6 projects, with 2 in Washington and 1 in California.

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