HAPPENING NOW: Open Martin’s Beach!
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Tidal Energy in WA, ME, AK

December 06 2010 | Ocean Ecosystems, Ocean Energy,
by Rick Wilson


For eons, powerful tides have raged through Puget Sound, ripping along at 11 feet per second at their peak, predictable as the phases of the moon. Three years from now, a local utility hopes to begin converting a portion of that raw energy to electricity, part of a growing effort to harness the tides to power homes and businesses miles from the smell of salt air.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District's pilot project is small - two turbines with 500 kilowatts of total capacity and an average output of 50 kilowatts - hardly a panacea for all that ails the United States' energy portfolio. But tidal power is garnering increasing attention as a niche supplier of renewable alternative energy in Washington, Maine and Alaska. The tides, some say, have the potential to light five percent of the nation's homes - nearly nine gigawatts of generating power.

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