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Wave of the Future

water.jpgRenewable energies are up against the wall right now, with skeptics and financial binds restricting what many believe to be humanities only hope for continuing clean and friendly power generation.

“It’s too expensive” is often the cry of the politician, who seems to think that just because he’ll be dead, he doesn’t really mind if his children will have to be living in a mud-shack when all goes to hell and back and we’re left without electricity. And while my doomsday prediction might be a little, well, doomsy, it’s not too far off the truth. We’re burning up our coal and oil reserves faster than we can deal with, and with the future seemingly a battle between Nuclear and Renewable, something is going to have to hit the fans soon.

Over the past several months, there have been several moves towards this better future, despite the warnings of skeptics. In San Francisco PG&E are beginning surveys in to using the tidal forces of their bay to generate electricity, and New York City hopes to use the East River as well.

Off the coast of the Netherlands a floating wind-farm opened earlier this year, with enough power to provide light to 100,000 homes.

And though the costs of the above developments do tend towards the pricy, it cannot be denied that for a little bit of extra cash, we can make a future that will be a tolerable one for our children (and us!).

More recently Finavera Renewables – a Canadian company invested in finding solutions for wind and wave power – successfully deployed a prototype of its AquaBuoy 2.0 two and a half miles off the coast of Oregon.

The principle behind such a device is simple, and though the prototype is only a half-sized mockup, Finavera hope to eventually be running wave power farms off the northern Pacific coast by 2010.

Water is 800 times denser than air at sea level, and with the bobbing of the waves putting pressure on the hydraulic fluid inside the buoy, the pressurized fluid will then turn a turbine within to create electricity. A full sized device would be capable of generating 250 kilowatts, enough electricity for nearly 100 homes, and with a whole farm set up, the results are clear for all to see.

However, skeptics continue to rain on the parade of wave power, noting that the installation of such an infrastructure would be both expensive and dangerous. Of course, they never seem to cry that it will not work, only that surely coal or nuclear is cheaper. (I won’t stray in to the whole “what is safer; nuclear or renewable” argument just yet.)

Moving away from the ocean…to the great ball of fury that illuminates our day, and Lyndon Rive, CEO of solar installer Solar City has come out to notify everyone that if they want to get in on the solar power market, now is the time.

Apparently, it will take up to 7 years for the solar market to reach par with current grid power, and during the intervening time prices will only rise; Dick Swanson of SunPower has backed up this argument.

And though companies such as Solar City are growing and developing new and better ways to implement solar power, it is taking time and money to break out of the shadow of the skeptics who have long held sway over public opinion.

We here at PlanetSave.com have only one piece of advice to give you, that we hope you will take out from amidst the ranting and raving you so enjoy; look at what you can do in your own life and neighborhood, and do it!




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