Capturing the power of tides has been slowly gaining momentum in the renewable power conversation but recent technological advancements and interest suggest that commercial production of hydrokinetic power is not too far off.
The development of technology to capture the power of waves has battled significant challenges. Beyond the instability and volatility of the ocean which has the power to tear apart equipment the budding industry has struggled to get the permits and financial support to make significant advancements.
However, with developments like Ocean Power Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: OPTT) reporting the first successful test of a wave energy device in U.S. waters the tide seems to be changing. Governments are showing their interest as well, even the skeptical Obama administration.
The U.S. Federal Regulatory Commission recently dolled out 140 hydrokinetic preliminary permits, the Energy Department has awarded US$37 million in grants to companies with promising prototypes. Meanwhile Canada has committed US$75 million for pilot projects in the Bay of Fundy.
The Los Angeles Times reports that hydrokinetics could supply 10 percent of U.S. power needs. With pilot projects happening of the coasts of Washington State, Hawaii, Alaska, Florida, California, Oregon, Maine as well as in rivers such as New York City's East River, the race is on to create reliable, affordable and commercial hydrokinetic viability.
"These are coastal resources, and most people live along the coasts," said Hoyt Battey, a water power expert at the U.S. Energy Department. "When you're talking about providing half the power of Alaska or Hawaii, or half the power of New York, that's significant."
Image Credit: Jimmy Coupe via Flickr.
Learn more about Marine Energy on eBoom's Emerging Energy Learning Page.
Energy Boom content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be advice regarding the investment merits of, or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of, any security identified on, or linked through, this site.