Tide Mill Institute to hold conference November 8-9, 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Tide Mill Institute will hold its 9th annual conference this week in Topsfield, Massachusetts.  The event, to be held at the Topsfield Historical Society's Gould Barn on November 8 and 9, brings together people interested in the past, present, and future of tidal energy.

Tidal energy has been used to produce useful power since at least 619, based on archaeological finds at the site of Nendrum Monastery on an island off Northern Ireland.  Tide mills came to the New World along with early European settlers, who captured the energy embodied in the rise and fall of tides and put it to use powering grist mills, lumber mills, and other industries.  According to a 1979 paper, "Early Tide Mills: Some Problems", at one point over 300 tide mills operated in North America.  As their functionality was supplanted by steam engines, electricity, and internal combustion energy, much of society's historic use of tidal energy has been forgotten.

Meanwhile, people still look to the tides to provide useful power.  The Canadian province of Nova Scotia has been home to a 20 megawatt tidal power plant since 1984, and is promoting even more innovative uses of tidal energy resources through incentive programs and policies.  In the United States, the Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) has developed the nation's first major grid-tied tidal electric generator, and has ambitious plans to bring more tidal and hydrokinetic projects online around the country.

This week's Tide Mill Institute event brings these themes together into a continuous narrative, from past through the present to the future.  The Tide Mill Institute's mission is:
  • to advance appreciation of the American and international heritage of tide mill technology;
  • to encourage research into the location and history of tide mill sites;
  • to serve as a repository for tide mill data for students, scholars, engineers and the general public and to support and expand the community of these tide mill stakeholders; and 
  • to promote appropriate re-uses of old tide-mill sites and the development of the use of tides as an energy source. 

The 2013 conference kicks off Friday night with an informal reception, followed by a symposium and dialogues Saturday from 8 AM through 3:30 PM.

For more information about the Tide Mill Institute, please contact:
  • Bud Warren - budw@myfairpoint.net 207-373-1209
  • Earl Taylor - ERMMWWT@aol.com 617-293-3052
  • Todd Griset - tgriset@preti.com 207-791-3000

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