Wave Power

Slowly and quietly there has been a movement toward alternative energy sources besides solar and wind. It hasn't received a lot of attention yet, but that may change soon. Discover magazine had a short article about a device that uses the motion of the ocean to generate electricity. Called Pelamis (after a type of sea snake), it is showing much promise.

Bright red and roughly 450 feet long, this sinuous piece of hardware lets the heaves and sways of the ocean drive pistons which in turn power generators. The electricy flows via cables (which also help anchor it) to the shore. Pelamis is made by Ocean Power Delivery of Scotland and already has trial runs operating off Portugal, and soon off Oregon, Washington, Maine, and Hawaii. The long term feasibility of Pelamis looks very good.


Norene said...

I read something about this elsewhere, but so far I haven't read any comments about possible negative effects for marine life. Seems like a great idea, as long the sea creatures can peacefully coexist.

Cameron said...

According to the article, Pelamis is environmentally friendly. No threat to birds (unlike offshore wind turbines, though I think they are a good idea as well). And it seems that marine life can easily swim around or underthem. The bright color makes them recognizable. So far so good, but the sea trials will put it to the test.