WIND + WAVES = NEW ENERGY BREAKTHROUGH
This is an obvious synergy that has been begging for the visionary-doer who could make it happen. The payoff: Huge amounts of renewable energy. Offshore wind is proven and wave energy is a monster resource still untapped. Both require cables buried under the sea, an onshore switching station and transmission to the grid. One is intermittent, the other mostly slow and steady. Installation and maintenance require marine skills. Do them both and double the return.
Burt Hamner, proven visionary & potential doer: “There’s about $100 million dollars in energy resources off that coast…We looked at Grays Harbor and we fell off our chairs. The numbers are stunning. There’s nowhere else on the planet you can put together wind and wave power on the same platform and get that kind of energy.”
One thing is clear. Hamner has done some homework on the environmental impact. He’s putting in wind turbines that are proven to minimize harm to birds: “The new generation of offshore wind turbines don’t hurt birds, and they’ve been running in European migratory flyways for years now and there is no evidence of any significant bird effects…”
As for marine life, the turbines will be installed on huge pilings to prevent harm to whales. They will look like artificial reefs to avoid impact on fish habitat. The cables will be buried. And if fisherman can prove a loss of income from the installation, they will be compensated: “This project could make so much money that you could share the revenue with any affected persons…”
There is a unique cost savings for taxpayers. Billions of federal dollars are spent protecting coastlines from erosion. A big wind + wave installation saps energy from the natural forces attacking coastal geology. Hamner: “Our engineers tell us that coastal erosion could be reduced by 15 to 20 percent if wave generators are capturing the energy…”
Still, Hamner is sanguine and admits there is only one way to prove the idea: Build it.
The wave energy devices will be entirely submerged. Only the turbines will be seen on the seascape. (click to enlarge)
The wave of the future?
Jordan Kline, December 14, 2007 (The Daily World)
Puget Sound Tidal Power (Burt Hamner, founder/CEO/sustainable business expert)
Hamner’s Puget Sound Tidal Power is beginning the process of building one of the first and biggest wind energy plus wave energy projects. Obstacles abound. Potential is huge.
The project is a long way off and has so many hurdles to get over that even Hamner is dubious. He has applied for a permit to do a feasibility study and scheduled a town hall meeting with locals for January 2008.
In this skyshot of Grays Harbor, x marks wind turbines and o marks wave energy converters. (click to enlarge)
- The site will be a few miles off off Washington state’s coast near Gray Harbor in a 28 square mile stretch of shallow seabed between Grayland and Ocean Shores.
- The waves in the region make it among the most dangerous in North America.
- Hamner has done a feasibility study for a tidal power project in the Tacoma Narrows for the City of Tacoma.
- The project will have 90 260-foot tall wind turbines and 350 wave energy converters. Estimates have it generating an average 168 megawatts/hour and 400 megawatts/hour during storms.
- Each turbine supports 2 fulltime jobs. Each two wave converters add another job. 355 new jobs are expected.
- Expected to voice their concerns from the get-go: regulatory agencies, environmentalists, fishermen, coastal condominium owners and concerned citizens. Hamner will form strategic partnerships to allay difficulties. Residents will be assured the power will go them first. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Marine Science Center in Sequim will be recruited. Local Congressman have already put forward bills to support the project. And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may be a major player.
The wave energy converters will be entirely submerged. (click to enlarge)
- Hamner, Puget Sound Tidal Power, on developing local cooperation: “The only way to make this project succeed is to make it part of the whole social, economic and environmental fabric of the Harbor…We are incredibly sensitive to the point that this has got to be a community-oriented sustainable project in which all people with different points of view are heard fairly…We expect great input from everyone in Grays Harbor.”
- Hamner, Puget Sound Tidal Power, on the obstacles to the project: “If I was a betting man, I wouldn’t bet on this project getting completed…”
- Mark Cedergreen, executive director, Westport Charter Boat Association: “It’s not like there isn’t any cost in the social and economic realm…They want to locate in fishing grounds. … There’s no doubt this will be controversial…When resources are compromised, fishermen usually don’t get anything. They usually have to fight tooth and nail.”
- Mike Coverdale, Westport Realtor: “Anything that takes away from the natural view is going to be somewhat negative, but if there’s some proven benefits and some positive impacts, then there’s a trade off…”