As the Obama team focuses on renewable energy projects, more money is designated for the seas
Charleston, SC (Earthtoys) June 2009 - A longstanding disagreement between Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, John Wellington, settled a longstanding dispute regarding regulations and responsibilities surrounding renewable energy projects on the Outer Continental Shelf.
As part of the Memorandum of Understanding, development of ocean wave energy is now possible. Prior to the agreement there was a misunderstanding as to which agency would govern this technology. The agreement gives the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this responsibility.
Interest in ocean wave energy and other sea-based energy options is growing because of the vast size of the ocean. Waves are constantly in motion, and in theory this motion can be converted into a continuous energy source.
Perfecting the technology necessary to convert wave energy into electricity would lessen the country's dependence on foreign sources of energy, which cannot be controlled. It also creates jobs, as the technology is being developed and put into use within the United States. Like all renewable resources, ocean wave energy does not have as much of a negative impact on the environment. It creates no carbon emissions or dangerous waste products.
Ocean wave energy is not a new consideration as an alternative energy source. In fact, scientists have been trying to harness ocean waves since the 1890s, but past technologies struggled to overcome the many challenges faced on the sea.
The large amount of material needed to create the structures in wave energy converters is one drawback to this technology. Corrosion is another battle that scientists must overcome, as saltwater is highly corrosive. Underwater components tend to attract barnacles, which hinder their operation. The devices must be strong enough to withstand the strong storms that occur at sea. Researchers are also looking into more effective ways to transport the energy to shore where it can be used.
As a result of this new agreement, Inerjy has received the green light to continue research into wave energy converters, which are devices that can take the nearly perpetual energy in ocean waves and convert it into usable electricity. This is a strategic move, because new technologies must be developed in order to overcome the problems associated with this renewable energy source.
Inerjy is working to perfect a new technology known as WaveTork, which overcomes many of these challenges. Not only does WaveTork have the potential to provide a renewable energy source, but it also appears to be able an affordable option.
Jamie Schlinkman of Inergy stated, "We believe under $4/watt capacity is achievable initially on a commercial scale and ultimately that the technology will compete with on-shore wind." Inergy is in the process of attaining a patent for the WaveTork technology, and once that is secured, the company will release more information about the technology.
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