Monday, December 17, 2007

Wave Energy

There's a lot of energy in waves. Every sailor knows it. The photo above is of 2003 Laser World Champion Gustavo Lima catching a ride downwind on a typical wave during last year's Caribbean Laser Midwinter Championship in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. Can't you just feel the rush of adrenaline as he takes off down the wave? Mmmmmm. Don't you wish that was you? It could be. 21 days from today I'm going to be riding that wave (or one very much like it) in Cabarete. Come join me.

But what about all that energy in waves? With all the recent news about climate change and greenhouse gases and the need to start using more renewable energy sources, isn't it about time we started using some of that energy in waves to warm our homes and cook our turkeys and light our Xmas trees this holiday season?

It sure is. So I was especially pleased to read that my recently adopted state, Rhode Island, is planning to to develop two wave-energy facilities off the coasts of Point Judith and Block Island that would convert energy from the waves into electricity. Rhode Island is partnering with an Australian company, Oceanlinx, to develop the facilities. Here's a picture of what they will look like.

I've no idea whether this project is actually going to happen. Clearly there are all sorts of political, legislative, financial and technical obstacles to overcome. I'm sure some local water users are going to come up with all sorts of objections why the facilities shouldn't be built in their backyards. And even if these generators are built, who knows if the power they generate will be economic? And why on earth are we using an Australian company? Aren't there American companies who know how to do this stuff?

But I am kind of proud of my little ocean state for leading the way on this issue. As the rest of the world loses patience with the failure of the Bush administration to take the perils of climate change seriously it's good to know that at least one state government, led by our governor Donald Carcieri, is trying to address the issue.

Ride the wave, Don dude.


JP said...

Sounds very interesting and hopefully a sign of what the US will be like post Bush.

My electric company has an option whereby you can ask for your supply to come from renuables - so I did.

Its more likely to be wind than wave though - there are lots of offshore wind farms here but only a scattering of wave power stations.

Polyphony said...

Gotta love your little State and Plantations! Heard about the RI effort last month on NPR. I am convinced that off-shore is the way to go--both wind and wave. Our equivalent effort here in my little Commonwealth, is the Cape Wind project, which I totally support. [She ducks from a jab by Ted Kennedy.] Guess my feeling, from a sailing perspective, is that the giant wind turbines will just present me a better opportunity to sharpen up those navigational skills. Lol. Anyway, great post about a cool topic. (P.S. It's your loyal reader, Tina, who finally figured out how to post a comment.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tina. You were the one that suggested that I write the occasional post on environmental issues. Hope the connection between sailing and renewable energy sources in this post wasn't too much of a stretch.

Mal Kiely [Lancelots Pram] said...

Thanks for the heads-up, Tillerman.

And yay for Aussie exports! [blushes proudly] heh heh.

Looking forward to meeting you at Terrigal in February as well... if you're none too anonymous, that is!

Have a positive Festive Season.

Mal :)

Anonymous said...

Hay Tillerman,

despite having a government that only recently ratified the kyoto protocol, we have a lot of sustainable energy companies that are working hard to find sources, so using an Austrlian company is not such a bad idea.

plus it saves you guys carbon credits from production of these things.....WAIT....u guys arent on kyoto....shame that....oh well

none of my comments were meant to offend, please dont sue or assault, or react or beat me in a race....

goodbye until next time my brain farts,

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