Thursday, July 05, 2007

Powering Up

Those of you who read here every now and then know how busy we are here. Well, to add to all the other stuff we do, I've been doing research on tidal generators. More specifically, in-stream generators. There's lots of information on the web about tidal generators, like the computer rendering to the left, but very few places that reveal anything about in-stream generators. Basically, they are small turbines that float in, or sit on the bottom of rivers. The current turns propeller-like blades, which creates electricity, which can then be delievered to a battery or delivered to the user. In the module to the left, the idea is that the blades are mounted on huge towers anchored to the bay/lake/ocean floor. The current/tides move the blades, again creating the electrical charge, and so on. Tidal power farms, like our example above, can power more homes, but are more expensive and are a massive undertaking. Truly inspiring though.

Anyway, in my book (The Anari Effect) that I've mentioned before, one of the projects being developed is a small in-stream turbine. No, I know it's not new. Yes, I know someone has already invented it. But my book is fiction, with a strong ecological theme and message. Readers are either going to forgive me that I didn't think of these things first, or they're going to hate me. (Besides, that's what the disclaimers and Kudos section is for in the foreword of the book.)

I've learned tons while doing the research. Tidal power projects are being considered and installed all over the world. New Zealand, Nova Scotia, Africa, France, Greenland...all countries with coast lines. Apparently wind farms are either loved or reviled. I would think that they would be embraced all over. After all, aren't we all paying too much for power? I had the good fortune to see a wind turbine on our way to a Pride event (see previous post), and it was much taller than I expected. The blades weren't moving that day, so I was able to see how long they are. It was impressive, believe me! I was pleased to learn that there are persoanl-sized wind towers that are available now. Small enough to fit in your backyard, and powerful enough to relieve some of your dependency on the local power company. So I got to thinking; if one could outfit one's home with even a small amount of solar, combined with a wind tower in the back, combined with energy conservation...what would the impact be to your power bill, and how much would it cost to get that savings?

All very intriguing food for thought.