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Those Damn Progressives and Their Science

The Worldnetdaily assigned its boy wonder, Aaron Klein, to write an article about research being done on renewable energy generated by ocean tides. Naturally, the tone is skeptical, though devoid of good reasons for it. It’s all about those silly progressives, don’t you know.

Lawmakers, together with the progressive establishment, are asking for billions in funding to invest in an attempt to harvest energy from the ocean.

Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Barbara Boxer D-Calif., recently proposed a “Sustainable Technologies Finance Program” seeking $500 billion for investments in “wind, solar, geothermal, advanced biomass and biofuels, ocean and tidal energy, hydropower, advanced transportation projects, and energy efficiency technologies.”

The whole thing is funded by a tax on carbon emissions, which is an excellent idea. Even if you think global warming is hoax perpetrated by Al Gore and a certain Kenyan anti-colonial communist, it’s still a great idea for a huge variety of reasons. Even without global warming, the burning of fossil fuels is absolutely terrible for the environment and for public health. If we can replace the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, or at least a sizable portion of it, with renewable energy sources like solar, wind and ocean tides, everyone will benefit from it enormously.

Last week, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, wrote an opinion piece at Roll Call hailing ocean energy as “an exciting opportunity for the United States to help advance the goal of developing clean, renewable energy, lessening our reliance on foreign oil, and creating new industries and thousands of rewarding jobs.”

Collins pointed to a tidal-energy project in her home state of Maine, the Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy Project, as the “first ocean energy project in the United States to deliver power to the electric utility grid.”

The project was funded by a $10 million Energy Department investment, with additional funds from the Maine Technology Institute and private investors.

For that amount of money, the device eventually built, called a TidGen, reportedly can produce up to 180 kilowatts of energy, or enough electricity to power only up to 30 homes annually.

And what would you expect, Mr. Klein? That a small research project of a few million dollars is going to power an entire city? It’s for research, for proving that it works and figuring out how it works most efficiently. Once you know this form of power generation works, you can move on to large-scale projects. But hey, anything to make those damn progressives and their hippie alternative energy look bad, right?

Comments

  1. says

    I think tidal energy is bad idea. It is too uncertain. I mean, tide comes, tide goes out, we we still cannot even explain that!!!

  2. colnago80 says

    If we can replace the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, or at least a sizable portion of it, with renewable energy sources like solar, wind and ocean tides, everyone will benefit from it enormously

    Aside from issues of carbon generated global climate change, phasing out the burning of coal is a good idea. As an interim step, replacing coal burning power plants with natural gas burning power plants not only reduces CO(2) emissions by a factor of 2 per BTU of electricity produced but eliminates the production of other emissions such as sulfates, particulates, and mercury.

    The proposal to use ocean tides to produce electricity has been around for a long time. I suspect that one reason Senator Collins is supporting research in this area is that some of the greatest tides in the world occur in the Bay of Fundy (some 40 feet) in the State of Maine.

  3. eric says

    For that amount of money, the device eventually built, called a TidGen, reportedly can produce up to 180 kilowatts of energy, or enough electricity to power only up to 30 homes annually.

    Yeah, that’s as stupid as saying the benchtop biologists who develop the annual flu vaccine spend millions to produce a mere couple of ounces of the stuff, so what good is that?

  4. eric says

    I suspect that one reason Senator Collins is supporting research in this area is that some of the greatest tides in the world occur in the Bay of Fundy (some 40 feet) in the State of Maine.

    Incremental and partial solutions are just fine by me. If *Maine* gets tidal generators but I don’t, guess what? The planet’s – *my* planet’s – air still gets cleaner.

    For sure windy areas will reap more benefit from wind technology research, areas with rivers will reap more benefit from damn-based hydroelectric research, and so on. But it seems really idiotic to me to complain about how government research produced a sheep for my neighbor that doesn’t eat as much grass from the commons as mine does.

  5. says

    If we can replace the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, or at least a sizable portion of it, with renewable energy sources like solar, wind and ocean tides, everyone will benefit from it enormously.

    “Everybody”? What about little mom ‘n’ pop operations like Massey Energy and BP?

  6. raven says

    There have been tidal energy plants around for decades. Nothing new about them.

    The Romans used them. No they didn’t have turbines with titanium blades. They used water wheels and ponds.

    wikipedia:tidal power: Partial list

    The first tidal power station was the Rance tidal power plant built over a period of 6 years from 1960 to 1966 at La Rance, France.[12] It has 240 MW installed capacity.

    254 MW Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Plant in South Korea is the largest tidal power installation in the world. Construction was completed in 2011.[13][14]

    The first tidal power site in North America is the Annapolis Royal Generating Station, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, which opened in 1984 on an inlet of the Bay of Fundy.[15] It has 20 MW installed capacity.

    The Jiangxia Tidal Power Station, south of Hangzhou in China has been operational since 1985, with current installed capacity of 3.2 MW. More tidal power is planned near the mouth of the Yalu River.[16]

    The first in-stream tidal current generator in North America (Race Rocks Tidal Power Demonstration Project) was installed at Race Rocks on southern Vancouver Island in September 2006.[17][18] The next phase in the development of this tidal current generator will be in Nova Scotia (Bay of Fundy).[19]

  7. caseloweraz says

    The project was funded by a $10 million Energy Department investment, with additional funds from the Maine Technology Institute and private investors.

    $10 million? $10 million?! For that kind of money, we could pay Rex Tillerson for three whole months!

  8. Sqrat says

    Even if you think global warming is hoax perpetrated by Al Gore and a certain Kenyan anti-colonial communist, it’s still a great idea for a huge variety of reasons. Even without global warming, the burning of fossil fuels is absolutely terrible for the environment and for public health.

    Even if you think that global warming is a hoax, and even if you think that the burning of fossil fuels doesn’t harm the environment and public health, do you think that fossil fuels are going to last forever? There is good reason to think, for example, that US coal reserves have been grossly overestimated. Check out the report, “Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves”, by Clean Energy Action.

  9. Abdul Alhazred says

    Once tidal power is shown to be feasible, the “progressive” anti-electricity woowoos will be against it too.

  10. Mobius says

    Physicist shudder. The WND is conflating power and energy.

    Power is energy per unit time, not energy.

    And he seems to have pulled his numbers out of his a….

    The figures I found show the average Maine home uses about 6400 kilowatt-hours (energy) per year, or about 725 watts (power) averaged over time.

    Thus the project producing 180 kilowatts of power would power about 250 homes. Continuously. Not for a year.

  11. David Marjanović says

    do you think that fossil fuels are going to last forever?

    Some of the people we’re talking about don’t think. Instead, they believe that fossil fuels are going to last all the way to the end of the world (which is gonna be soon) because God loves us so much.

    They literally expect a miracle of enormous proportions.

    And some of them sit in Congress in the US of A.

    Once tidal power is shown to be feasible, the “progressive” anti-electricity woowoos will be against it too.

    The important thing here is that you can feel superior to everyone – in advance.

  12. Quantum Mechanic says

    Tidal power is a blatant power move by LIBERAL ATHEISTS who want to destroy God’s Earth by slowing the Earth’s rotation and making the Moon recede Farther from Earth, thus knocking us out of the SINGLE NANOMETER WIDE orbital distance from the Sun which the Lord made capable of supporting Life!!!1!11

    …That sound about right?

  13. dingojack says

    Quantum Mechanic* – Not enough random capitalisation, spelling and punctuation, but pretty close.
    :D Dingo
    ——–
    * Not fixed that quantum yet? Are you being paid by the hour or something?!? ;)

  14. Quantum Mechanic says

    dingo:
    I know, I just can’t bring myself to intentionally butcher the language that way. Besides, there’s only room enough on this board for one Modus!
    ——–
    Naw, I’m salaried. Unfortunately, every time I think I spot the problem, the hunk of junk books it in a random direction.

  15. says

    Look what happened with wind farms.

    They’re being built all over the place and progressives love them. What was your point?

  16. laurentweppe says

    There have been tidal energy plants around for decades. Nothing new about them.

    Kinda like credit cards with microchips or inexpensive front loading washing machines: we’ve had these for decades in Europe, but in the US, it’s still the stuff of science-fiction

  17. zmidponk says

    For that amount of money, the device eventually built, called a TidGen, reportedly can produce up to 180 kilowatts of energy, or enough electricity to power only up to 30 homes annually.

    Yeah, obviously this technology cannot possibly be any more effective than that. We’ll just quietly forget the Scottish tidal turbine project that, when fully completed, looks to able to generate enough power for 42,000 homes:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-24100811

    We’ll also just quietly forget the same folk are already thinking about the possibility of a ‘phase 2′ of the same project that will quadruple that power generation.

  18. says

    If the list of items to be investigated is complete, I would criticize the proposed bill for not including storage which is needed to make part time energy sources like wind solar & tidal useful, & not including varieties of nuclear like the Integral Fast Reactor & the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor which would make nuclear sustainable for millions or even billions of years.

  19. freehand says

    jimbaerg, it’s trivial to store energy for a day or longer. Pump water up a tower, or pull a train car up a hill. Release them as needed to generate power. A smart grid will help considerably. Also, the folks who can crunch the numbers say that it makes sense to treat a good-sized fleet of electric cars as a source of mass batteries, that can give up some of their charge to the grid.
    .
    I have no problem personally with small, efficient nuclear plants with passive safety mechanisms / processes.

  20. slatham says

    How much has been spent on “clean coal” that still hasn’t produced anything viable?

  21. says

    I would criticize the proposed bill for not including storage…

    I don’t know much about tidal power, but last I checked, the tides go in and out almost continuously. If it provides a constant load to the grid, storage isn’t an issue. Unless for some reason this is your entire capacity.

  22. says

    “I would criticize the proposed bill for not including storage…”

    Hmmm, don’t ALL power plants that use nuclear or fossil fuel run without any storage capacity. Oh, that’s right they’re on a magical grid that shuttles power from where it’s made to where it’s used. I forgot that alternate technologies can’t do that.

    “How much has been spent on “clean coal” that still hasn’t produced anything viable?”

    That’s the “DH Rule” for aging technologies that can no longer perform at the level that they could when they were in their prime but still have the ability to generate excitement (in the form of bigass money) to those who love them.

    “The project was funded by a $10 million Energy Department investment”

    Yeah, that’s a fuckton of cash being wasted on dead end technology. Otoh, the great bargain that is nuclear power plants (as they are currently operated in many cases) is costing about $27M give or take–per day, since 3/11/2011–to clean up ONE major fuck up at the Daiichi reactors in Fukushima, Japan. Nothing to see here, move along, democommiesan, move along.

  23. pocketnerd says

    Thus Spake Zaraslatham:

    How much has been spent on “clean coal” that still hasn’t produced anything viable?

    Far from not producing anything viable, “clean coal research” has allowed the federal and state governments to throw even more money at coal companies. And now the coal industry itself can deflect criticisms of its destructive with a handy-dandy little meaningless buzzword!

    “Coal is the most destructive energy technology in the world. It’s not even the cheapest source of energy, as its proponents would claim, once you factor in the externalized costs.”

    “Ah! But that was the old days, before CLEAN COAL, a magic panacea for everything wrong with the fossil fuel industry!”

    “But if you look at the facts, you’re really just–”

    CLEAN COAL! Also, shut up, hippie. Because job creators.”

    Mission accomplished.

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