Monday, November 22, 2010

Tidal power: Could waves provide 10% of America's electricity?

Last month, in the swells off Oahu, a company called Ocean Power Technologies connected a small test buoy to the power grid that serves the Marine Corps Base Hawaii. It was a first for a wave energy device in U.S. waters.

"We have demonstrated that our technology works, that it can survive in harsh ocean conditions and can deliver high-quality power to the grid," said Robert Lurie, a vice president of Ocean Power, which is based in Pennington, N.J.

Next spring, the company plans to anchor a larger power buoy in the waves off Reedsport, Ore., for further tests. The ultimate goal, Lurie said, is to build "multi-buoy wave farms" generating enough power to light 50,000 homes.

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