Looking somewhat like a horizontal eggbeater, a tidal turbine generator with helical blades has begun harvesting the powerful tides of the Bay of Fundy, reports Jess Bidgood at the New York Times. The bay has some of the world’s highest tides, a powerful and predictable source of energy. Although experimental, the Tidgen turbine catches the energy of rushing water, spinning a generator that, come September, is scheduled to begin sending power to the electric grid, providing an invisible source of power, unlike wind farms. It will be the first US tidal-power turbine to do so, says Steven G. Chalk, the deputy assistant secretary for renewable energy. The Department of Energy has put up about half of the roughly $21 million in costs, hoping that tidal power can establish itself as part of the country’s arsenal of energy alternatives. At its maximum, the Tidgen turbine will power about 30 homes, about one-sixth the output of a typical wind turbine. But TidGen will be in use far more, since the currents will push more consistently than wind. Once completed in 2016, the array of turbines there could power up to 1,500 homes.
The search for energy takes a turn underwater. Next week, a device that looks a bit like an eggbeater turned sideways will be lowered into the easternmost shores of the United States to catch the energy of the rushing water, spinning a generator that, come September, is scheduled to begin sending power to the grid. New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/10/us/turbine-to-harness-the-tides-to-generate-power.html?_r=2