U.S. hydrokinetic power could make waves

Oct. 3, 2012 at 8:24 AM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. Energy Department said advancements in hydrokinetic energy could make the power-generation method an attractive resource for the United States.

The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said prices for hydrokinetic energy projects, such as wave power buoys and underwater turbines, are more expensive than more conventional forms of energy. The EIA said new hydrokinetic projects, however, are moving quickly toward commercialization.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in January backed a 30-blade underwater turbine for the bottom of the East River in New York. The early stage project could generate about 1 megawatt of electricity from the river's currents.

FERC in August backed the deployment of 10 buoys developed by Ocean Power Technology that would generate as much as 1.5 MW from the kinetic energy of waves offshore Oregon.

The EIA said there are only 40 sites in the world that have tidal variances great enough to produce electricity.

"Backers of the technology claim river currents and ocean tides are more predictable, sometimes known months in advance, for generating electricity compared to intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar," the EIA stated.

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