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Monday, August 16, 2004

Using Tides to Generate Power 

Using wind to generate electrical power is relatively common. Many states boast companies responsible for some small percentage of the total power that generate using wind (check out the American Wind Energy Association for more details). But wind, by itself, can never be the whole answer in power generation. Climatological factors play too critical a role: some states just aren't windy enough.

Where wind is inadequate it may prove possible to generate power by harnessing other natural processes: e.g. tides. In a small pilot project the energy company Verdant Power plans to install a series of turbines on the bottom of the Hudson river (next to New York City) which will rotate to follow the tides. Many practical issues still remain to be considered: e.g. the influence of fields of river bottom turbines on wild life, how to help the turbines spin freely in the presence of lots of debris, but wouldn't it be something, wouldn't it be really something, if someday New York got much of it's power from the tides?

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