Could the ocean’s whopping tides help power Alaska?
October 11, 2012
By Hannah Heimuch | Bristol Bay Times: As energy companies race to reap the benefits of Arctic oil, other parts of Alaska are charging into new energy technologies. In False Pass, researchers have initiated a project that explores the potential power of ocean currents.
Much like wind turbines harness the massive moving energy of air currents, underwater turbines lasso the energy created by water currents. Alaska is lacking in neither natural phenomenon, said scientist Bruce Wright.
Wright is the senior scientist for the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, an Aleut tribal nonprofit. The organization recently received a $200,000 U.S. Energy Department grant to explore tidal energies, and its focusing its attention at the narrow saltwater chute of Isanotski Strait at False Pass, at the end of the Alaska Peninsula. It is the first pass that Pacific waters come to as the Alaska coastal current pushes them toward the Arctic Ocean, Wright said.
Alaska possesses 90 percent of the United State’s total tidal power potential, according to the Ocean Renewable Power Co., the company contracted to conduct the research at False Pass. ORPC is also conducting similar research in Cook Inlet, as well as other locations around the country.