Underwater Turbines Coming to Life

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 @ 09:03 AM gHale


Two underwater turbines will end up installed in the waters near Seattle, WA, said Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) officials.

They will place the turbines in the Admiralty Inlet strait. The underwater turbines will anchor to the sea floor as part of a tidal-energy pilot project, and OpenHydro will provide them for the case.

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Both turbines will sit at a depth of about 200 feet, and will end up placed onto triangular bases intended to ensure they remain fixed to the sea floor.

The turbines will each stand about 20 feet tall and will be able to harvest energy from a fairly wide range of water flow velocities. In addition, the turbines will be able to harvest tidal energy and roll out clean power regardless of the direction of the tide.

The overall power generation capacity of this fairly small-scale tidal energy installation will be one of 600 megawatts, with each turbine having a capacity of 300 megawatts. That could be enough to power 600,000 homes.

The energy the underwater turbines produce will come to shore and power households and businesses via cables. Two cables, each measuring 7,000 feet in length, will bring the energy produced by the turbines to shore.

“The Admiralty Inlet Project is an innovative attempt to harness previously untapped energy resources,” said Cheryl LaFleur, FERC’s acting chairman. “I look forward to the results of the experimental project and congratulate Snohomish [County] for undertaking it.”

The Admiralty Inlet ended up selected for the project because it is fairly narrow, which forces the water moving through it to speed up. Because of this, specialists say that the region is very well suited for harvesting tidal power by means of underwater turbines.



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