ocean energy

Alaska studying viability of harvesting tidal power at Cook Inlet

The Alaska Energy Authority has signed a memorandum of agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to conduct a baseline assessment of tidal hydrokinetic energy in Cook Inlet.
Alaska studying viability of harvesting tidal power at Cook Inlet

The authority said that over the next few years NOAA will measure and model water levels and three-dimensional current, salinity and temperature fields within Cook Inlet to identify regions with promise for the generation of hydrokinetic energy.

“We are pleased to partner with NOAA on this project,” said Peter Crimp, AEA's alternative energy and energy efficiency deputy director. “Many Alaskans know the power of Cook Inlet tides, and through these studies we will gain valuable information for harnessing that power.”

Experts estimate that the wave power potential of southern Alaska’s coast alone is nearly 1,250 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year – about 300 times the state’s annual electricity demand.

Development of these resources in Alaska is likely to be economically feasible in only a few sites, however, and Cook Inlet, the 180-mile stretch of water that connects Anchorage to the Gulf of Alaska, is at the top of that list for its tidal-power possibilities.

The study is not the first to look at the viability of the Cook Inlet for en. The Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) obtained a permit to develop a demonstration tidal project in Cook Inlet in 2008.

In its own feasibility study, ORPC said it found that Cook Inlet has the second highest tidal range in North America. The company plans to begin building a commercial hydrokinetic power plant in 2012.

For additional information:

Alaska Energy Authority

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