Puget Sound Tidal Energy

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Image Used by Permission of the Marine Current Turbines TM Limited

 

This web site was created to provide easy access to information about tidal energy projects proposed in the Puget Sound region of Washington State using Tidal In-Stream Energy Conversion (TISEC) technologies.  TISEC technology has advanced from the theoretical stage to the pilot stage with pilot projects built around the world.  Permits for full scale development in Great Britain are proceeding.  The project proposals are basically for creating underwater wind farms with rotors ranging from 5 - 20 meters in diameter.

 

In Puget Sound there were 7 proposed projects by 3 different Proponents. 

 

Tacoma Power proposed to develop tidal energy at the Tacoma Narrows.  Their preliminary feasibility assessment of the site and available technologies does not show the project as economically nor technically feasible at this time. 

 

Public Utility District Number 1 of Snohomish County (SnoPUD) has proposed projects  for  Admiralty Inlet, Agate Pass, Deception Pass, Guemes Channel, Rich Pass, San Juan Channel and Spieden Channel.  SnoPUD surrendered their permits for Agate and Rich Passages in September of 2008 and and let the permits for Guemes, San Juan and Spieden Channels expire. Admiralty Inlet and Deception Pass are the only locations left in Puget Sound being proposed for tidal energy development.  SnoPUD has filed a draft license application to develop Admiralty inlet under the FERC Pilot Licensing process and renewed their permit for Deception Pass.

 

The US Navy is planning to conduct a 1 year research study using Verdant Power technologies in Puget Sound.  The Navy has not selected a site yet, but is looking at either end of Marrowstone Island or Deception Pass.  The turbines would supply power to local naval facilities.

 

Tidal energy has the benefits of being a renewable energy source that is predictable in time, duration, and production levels for the foreseeable future with a high level of accuracy.  It could also displace the need for other non-renewable energy sources that contribute to global warming.

 

But there are also a lot of unknowns about the effects of tidal energy development on marine resources.  Studies have not been conducted to identify the effects of these energy projects on marine life.  As projects are planned and developed in the United States and in Canada, studies will need to be conducted to analyze the potential effects.

 

Development of tidal energy in Puget Sound has the additional problems of being proposed at a time when millions of dollars are being spent on the recovery of species listed under the Endangered Species Act.  How would development of tidal energy affect the recovery efforts of Puget Sound Chinook Salmon, Hood Canal Chum Salmon, or the Southern Resident Orca Whales?  How would they affect bottom fish recovery plans?  How may the proposed projects affect sediment deposition by potentially slowing the currents through the project areas?  These and other questions will need to be answered as the project proposals move forward.

 

 

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January 14, 2011

The Daily Climate article "Tidal energy tests the waters"

News article

 

December 14, 2010

The Seattle Times article "UW: Admiralty Inlet an ideal spot for tidal power"

News Article

 

September 26, 2010

Seattle PI article "Experimental tidal energy project moves ahead in Admiralty Inlet"

News Article

 

September 25, 2010

Whidbey News-Times

article "Experimental tidal energy project moves ahead in Admiralty Inlet"

News Article