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Rhode Island’s Wave Power Plant – caught up in red tape


Earlier this month we posted that Energetech’s Australian wave power plant had gone online. In researching that story we discovered that Energetech is also working on a pilot project to build and install a wave power plant off Point Judith, Rhode Island. Project GreenWave is a non-profit pilot, with funding from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. If this pilot project were successful, it would become the first wave power installation in the U.S.
The $3.5 million project got underway in 2003 with sediment sampling and underwater surveying and analysis — with much of the analysis being done by the University of Rhode Island and its renowned ocean-graphics department. Energetech is currently preparing for a FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) filing and is hopeful about the project’s progress, though they make no estimate of when the plant might go online. As with any first-of-its-kind project involving coastal installation, federal and state agencies have to create a system for project approval and permits — so there is still a level of confusion over who has regulatory jurisdiction for wave energy projects in the U.S., which has slowed the approval and installation process.


Analysis has shown Point Judith to be an ideal location due to local wave and geological structure, proximity to the power grid, and ease of installation (less than a week). The station itself would be located just outside the Point Judith breakwater and about a mile offshore. Care is being taken not to disrupt commercial ship traffic or recreational boaters. The station will be designed to: withstand “100 year storm criteria”, be easily towed to port, make 100 times less noise than an outboard motor; and have only one moving part — the turbine.

Ultimately, wave power may provide a great source of clean, sustainable power for coastal communities and regional power grids. With Washington’s invigorated interest in, and funding of alternative energy projects, perhaps the hearing and permit process for this type of project can be streamlined and fast-tracked. The Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound has served to illustrate how controversial an ocean-based alternative power project can be. One can only hope that less obtrusive wave power installation proves to be both energy rich and controversy poor.

If you’re into pain, here’s a link to FERC’s filings on the project:

FERC online

more @ energetech

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

John T. Unger – recycled cans make shining art

cantern2_1.jpgJohn T. Unger has created these cool luminaries from 100% recycled cans. The creation of these pieces using a welding torch takes a fine hand and quick drawing skills to avoid the can going up in smoke and ending up a molten pile of goo. John T. designs things from recycled and repurposed materials to avoid adding to the already cluttered inventory of our society.

Art meets atmosphere to create romantic, spiritual or
spooky lighting effects and
images. You can even use
them to light a path.

luminary_fish2_1_1.JPGother features:

  • great indoors or out
  • signed by the artist
  • weatherproof
  • no sharp edges
  • holes in the bottom for drainage

$20 bucks each or 10 for $150

get ’em @ artbuzz

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saturday’s mixed bag of green news


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tube talk – quality programs this week


Tomorrow, Sunday, March 25 at 8p. Five years in the making, don’t miss the premier of Planet Earth, the much anticipated 11-part Portrait of the Planet on Discovery Channel. Visit here for a sneak peek.

And be sure to catch Journey to Planet Earth: State of the Ocean’s Animals, hosted by Matt Damon — Wednesday, March 28, 8pm on PBS. more here.

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midnite video – where the hell are Matt’s outtakes

Matt certainly gets around…
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