A tidal-power idea on the NH seacoast fizzles, while Bay of Fundy works goes forward
Posted by David Brooks | Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Of all the alternative-energy ideas, tidal power might be the most frustrating. It should be easy to tap, with tons of predictable energy running past us twice a day, but the difficulties of making machinery that works in the brutal conditions (pounding seawater can destroy almost anything) and doesn't screw up sensitive coastal environments have mostly stymied it.
The latest example: UNH is dropping a request to study tidal power in Newington because of concerns from that town.From a letter sent March 9 by Ken Baldwin, director of the center for Ocean Renewable Energy:
The Town of Newington Conservation Commission (is) firm in stating the condition of no commercial development. ... It seems prudent at this point in time and under the condition imposed by the Town of Newington NH, that the University of New Hampshire, Center for Ocean Renewable Energy relinquishes the FERC preliminary permit.
This is a little weird because UNH didn't want to do commercial development; a previous owner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permit had judged the site (under the General Sullivan Bridge) not good enough for commercial power. UNH wanted to set up test equipment to study how and whether tidal power could be tapped. They needed Newington's OK to get a Dredge and Fill permit to drill in the bed of the estuary of the Piscataqua River.
Spotted via the Union-Leader's inelegant but very useful collection of NH-related links, on their home page. Here's a Portsmouth Herald story.
On the other hand, Ocean Power Company is continuing with its efforts to develop tidal power off Maine in the Bay of Fundy: Article here.