Wave Energy Firm Scouts New England Locales
LCG, June 7, 2002--Small demonstration projects to extract electric power from energy in ocean waves are possible in New England in the next couple of years, if an Australian company can decide on a suitable site.The company, Energetech, is currently looking at a number of coastal towns in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine, with the assistance of a $1 million commitment from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. Speaking for the Massachusetts town of Hull, Phil Lemnios, town manager, said, "We're listening, but it's premature to know if it makes sense for Hull - or the Area."Different technologies exist for capturing wave energy, which has received little attention since the oil embargo of the 1970's. The technique planned by Energetech focuses the dispersed energy of waves into a central chamber through the effects of parabolically shaped walls. A turbine is driven by air that is compressed by the force of the waves. While Energetech's structures would be placed onshore, other technologies capture tidal energy offshore.Research is being done on wave-driven power structures' effect on coastal areas. While some scientists see the structures as helping to reduce erosion, others see them as accelerating it, possibly affecting marine life in nearby areas that could see increased sedimentation.A small plant is being constructed by another company in Washington state, while Energetech is nearly ready for the building of two demonstration projects in Vancouver, British Columbia and Australia. The sole wave energy plant now in operation is in Scotland.
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