Headlines: Beyond Wind and Solar, a New Generation of Clean Energy
By Juliet Eilperin Wash. Post Staff Writer Saturday, September 1, 2007; http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 02054.html
The door is open and the sky is the limit for new whiz kids entrepreneurs. Build it and they will come. Ask and ye shall receive. And a whole slew of other clichés come to mind, but you get the picture. Now that Green is the fad there are going to be all kinds of choices for people, cities, states and the nation to make beside filthy fossil fuels or the dangerous long radioactive wastes of nuclear.
“Finavera Renewables, a Canadian company that hopes to harness ocean waves off the coast of Oregon to produce electricity for U.S. consumers.” so they contacted a factory whose business was on the downward slope to assemble test buoy for them to try to harness the waves energy and if it works a whole new industry will be born. Not only will the equipment have to be manufactured, but it will have to be maintained and the power generated gotten to those who need it creating jobs (and much safer jobs than any that could be lost by leaving deep coal veins in the earth and the Alaskan wilderness and our sea beds safe from destructive oil drilling and then removal from the area.
Water is a mega powerful element as any sailor can tell you. Large waves have been known and recording hitting, raising and then dropping huge air craft carriers in two pieces. There is nearly 900 times as much energy in a cubic meter of moving water as is in a cubic in a cubic meter of air moving at the same velocity. “Finavera's chief executive, Jason Bak, believes he knows how this power can be captured. The equipment his company designed, called AquaBuOY, aims to generate electricity from the vertical motion of waves. The buoy, anchored in an array two to three miles offshore, will convert the waves' motion into pressurized water using large, reinforced-rubber hose pumps. As the buoy goes up the peak of a wave and down into its trough, it forces a piston in the bottom of the buoy to stretch and contract the hose pumps, pushing water through. This drives a turbine that powers a generator producing electricity, which would be shipped to shore through an undersea transmission line.”
The vast majority of the world’s population, and thus power needs, are located near an ocean. Waves are forever, waves are not intermittent like the winds and nor can waves power be blunted by clouds as can the sun‘s. Although some technologies are more advanced than others and alternatives are still small in the nation's overall energy mix bit this can quickly change. Ask yourself just how many years did it take Americans to put a man on the moon after the Russian Sputnik sailed into earth’s orbit? And already we have so many examples of alternatives making a significant difference:
Americans are also beginning to work with Europeans companies who because their fossil fuels were not as inexpensive as ours have had a greater need to be energy efficient and resourceful. “Iceland America has several other U.S. geothermal projects in the works, including a potential second Salton Sea plant that would serve Nevada boasts 15 geothermal plants, with the capacity to generate enough electricity for 73,000 homes. California utilities are looking at solar technology that would use mirrors to heat water and spin turbines in desert power plants. It may be that our power plants will be smaller than the huge coal fired power plants we have today. This can be a benefit in that when one plant goes down for some reason there will be another nearby to perhaps supply at least emergency power. And no more huge black outs over a fifth of the country as we have had.Los Angeles and a home-heating plant for the ski resort town of Mammoth Lakes, Calif.” The potential for geothermal energy in America is great although we are already the world's largest producer of geothermal electricity, with 212 plants generating 3,119 megawatts. Geothermal could be the ultimate source for the western states. I thought immediately of the huge calderas that is Yellowstone National Park; talk about geothermal energy!
The United States has entrepreneurs ready and willing to invest in alternatives to the filthy fossil fuels or nuclear, but unfortunately these established Energy Barons are holding onto their turf and have the money and the lobbyist in Washington to buy the votes they need to get the lions share of the tax brakes and subsidies. Their efforts will only slow us down from our goal of clean renewable energy unless we make our voices heard in Congress. Congressman will sell their vote to the highest bidder and you the voter are the highest bidder if enough of you talk.
I wish to say again to those of you who are adamant that the Global Warming thing is a haul that it really shouldn't matter. What should matter is restoring our worId to what it was before the we who in just over a century has turned our air, our forest, our rivers and oceans into dying ugly cess pools of man’s greed for energy. You don't have to buy into the Global Warming crowd in order to press our Congress for more cleans energy sources. If we don't do something soon much of the best things on Earth will be lost regardless of global warming, but just from filth. Just a few hours drive into our once grand and glorious forests of the Smoky Mountains that are now fighting for survival will point out this truth of this statement. And, Lord knows we are not about to give up our automobiles or air conditioning are we? BB