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Saturday, December 8, 2007

The hitch with wave energy

It could be bad for salmon. Looks like they're going find out whether it is or not here in our backyard.

Comments (6)

Prof, who directly benefits from this besides the companies? Would the energy generated from a project like this benefit only Oregonians? It does not seem that way. And do you think Oregon can boost its economy through "Th[e] convergence of old economy and new reflects what supporters of wave energy say is fitting symmetry for a region that has evolved from an extraction-based economy built on logging to one striving to use natural resources in ways that are environmentally sound"?

Anywhere we don't have to kill for energy is fine with me. I don't expect this to be a money-maker, however.

I strongly believe there is usually a ying and yang to everything. There are negatives to wave energy systems, just like wind generation. And why is it that Holland's wave energy research and existing systems are not in the equation for our proposed wave technology. We always want to think that "we are on the forefront of new ideas", which many times are old ideas, and in practice.

On the question of who benefits, the short answer to me is that IF wave energy can be cost-effective with minimal damage to sea life and disruption to fishing, then we all benefit (particularly our kids) as we desperately seek ways to power our economy that don't contribute to global warming. And I don't think I'm exaggerating in using the word "desparate" to describe the urgency of our need to lower our carbon emissions to avoid the worst consequences of global warming.

Jerry (and others),

Wave energy technology is rapidly developing around the world, certainly not just in Oregon. Various devices are being tested in the UK, Portugal, Australia, Norway, Canada, and elsewhere. However, no single, clearly superior technology has yet come to the forefront (as eventually happened with wind turbine design). That's why OSU, Finavera, and at least a dozen other companies and universities are testing these technologies. Eventually one (or a few) designs will prove to be technological or commercial winners.

As for the Dutch designs, I have no idea what you are talking about--maybe their system of dikes and sea protections, which is totally different thing?--but in any event the wave climate in the Netherlands, which is protected from the full force of North Atlantic waves and storms by the British Isles, is very different from the wave climate off the Oregon coast. As the kids say, YMMV, depending on where you are using a device.

Finally, as I understand it, one of the points of doing these limited trials is to try to determine what environmental effects they produce. It's not a dam, which is not temporary and cannot be easily removed. Hopefully wave farms can be configured to minimize both adverse environment effects and conflicts with the fishing industry.

So, lets see here. Wind farms kill migratory bird, wave farms might kill salmon versus oil which funds terrorists and coal which kills the environment.

Life is about choices. If wind and wave energy can provide viable alt. to the others, I say go for it. Then we can worry about saving the salmon and birds. That seems a less trying problem than global warming and jihadists.

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