By Marshall Kelly
February 27, 2008
The prevalent Southeast winds occur about 70% of the time here, with Nor'westers making up about 28% leaving 2% for the rare day the wind takes a break (these facts are skewed, but not by much). For the power needs of Southeast Alaska, a few strategically placed wind generators would provide a lot of power, maybe even surplus power we could sell to our southern neighbors. Granted the wind speeds achieved here may be hard on the equipment, it is an option.
There is a "Four Dam Pool" system in place that is working on connecting four Southeast Alaska dams into one power grid. This project is very costly and is currently stalled due to funding. The dams are a clean and renewable energy source although the environmental impact is a concern to wildlife and those that harvest it, but it is also an option.
Our tidal exchange brings in and takes out about 17 feet of water twice per day. The tide is predictable and therefore useful for generating an amount of power equal to the demand of the area if harnessed appropriately. Build a dam across the mouth of a cove while including environmental needs as well as commerce requirements and you will have power even if our region became arid for 100% of the year. The tide produces currents throughout the region that run in a predictable direction; twice a day. Adapt the wind generator concept to a submerged generator to harvest that energy. Wave generators are also a very viable option in our region. All these ocean energy concepts have been in use very successfully throughout the world.
Our dependency on oil has set
us back many years in the "renewable resource" world
and only now that it is hurting us are we taking a look at what
our options are. The options are there. We have not been.
Received February 27, 2008 - Published February 27, 2008
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