Print 32 comment(s) - last by DontUhatePants.. on Jan 7 at 1:58 AM

Ocean Power Technologies, whose power-generating test buoy is pictured here, has been forced to deploy its technology in New Zealand and Australia, due to an ocean power licensing bureaucratic mess here in the U.S.  (Source: Ocean Power Technologies)
Political bickering may hold up plans to deploy and test new wave power technologies to the U.S.

When it comes to alternative energy, President-elect Barack Obama and his team, as in other tech fields, is stating that the time for change is now.  As part of his team's program, which encompasses wind, solar, and examining clean nuclear options, the team is turning its sights to ocean power.

Countries like Britain and Portugal have already jumped on exploiting the vast amount of energy in the ocean.  Powered by the gravitational pull of the moon, the Earth's tides carry a vast amount of energy, almost entirely untapped by current generators.  While the challenge of deploying a device out at sea that can withstand the elements and deliver power to the main land is considerable, many companies have already tackled the problem with innovative designs.

According to New York-based Environmental Defense Fund, a non-profit environmental advocacy organization, U.S. ocean power efforts, on the other hand, are stuck in a political mire.  The group met with President-elect Obama and his advisors to help them realize the nature of this problem.

In the U.S., two branches of government have been granted conflicting jurisdiction over the seas:  the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Minerals Management Service, part of the Department of the Interior.  The result has been a squabble over who's in charge of approving projects which has been unable to be resolved thus far.

The Minerals Management Service gained the power to issue licenses to alternative energy projects on the outer continental shelf, 3 to 200 miles off shore, with the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  That law, however, failed to eliminate the preexisting licensing authority granted to FERC.  Now both organizations claim they have the right to issue the license.

Thus far, both organizations have been unable to resolve the territory battle.  What has resulted is that funding for U.S. ocean-based alternative energy projects has dried up due to uncertainty about licensing.

The coalition pleading their case before President-elect Obama was composed of officials from local governments, utilities, environmental groups and ocean power companies, including Pennington, N.J.-based Ocean Power Technologies (OPTT).

If something is not done to clean up the mess, these groups say, the U.S. will lose its alternative energy lead to foreign competitors. Ocean Power Technologies is illustrating this as it is currently pulling some of its U.S. projects and has recently announced major projects in Australia and New Zealand.

The problem is among the toughest challenges to face the transition team, led by incoming Energy Secretary Steven Chu, currently a Professor of Physics and Molecular and Cellular Biology of University of California, Berkeley.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

This just in
By ajvitaly on 12/26/2008 10:22:38 AM , Rating: 5
Breaking news headline!

Obama's team to have a tough job with just about every problem facing this country!

RE: This just in
By drebo on 12/26/08, Rating: -1
RE: This just in
By Jellodyne on 12/26/2008 10:34:18 AM , Rating: 5
You really think he can top the outgoing?

RE: This just in
By MrBlastman on 12/26/2008 10:56:37 AM , Rating: 5
Umm.. G Dubya did raise the bar. Now, I sure didn't vote for Obama, but I do really believe he has a lot to surpass if he wants to claim that crown.

The last three presidents have been duds, are we in for a fourth? The trend line is progressively growing steeper in terms of dud-dom. We're on an exponential track! :(

But, back to the article:

"Clean nuclear power"

Hmm... last time I checked, nuclear power in its current form is pretty clean. A lot cleaner than coal or gas, that is for sure. I fail to see why Obama, and America as a whole, refuses to embrace our nuclear future.

RE: This just in
By brickd007 on 12/26/08, Rating: -1
RE: This just in
By Nihility on 12/26/2008 12:09:23 PM , Rating: 3
They're scared of bad press and a negative reaction from the superstitious and scientifically illiterate public.
It doesn't matter that coal actually kills a lot more people than nuclear power would if it were used instead of coal.
The famous disaster that happened in Russia was on an old graphite core which is no longer used. That core was combustible and during an experiment that required shutting off the cooling system (which was performed recklessly), it caught on fire and made a mess.
Assuming the same death toll from every such disaster, you would need one to occur every 3 weeks in order to equal the death toll from coal plants.

RE: This just in
By grath on 12/26/2008 1:48:44 PM , Rating: 5
They're scared of bad press and a negative reaction from the superstitious and scientifically illiterate public.

The problem really comes down to the media. They are the lens that shapes how the issue is perceived for both the policy makers and the public.

On the public side, they have failed to properly educate people about the technology as it exists in the modern world, instead leaving it to the body of "common knowledge" about nuclear power that was accumulated during the Cold War, from which many people have derived their current understanding and opinion of it, along with the unfortunate poster boys for the industry that are Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.

That education, tainted by politics, Cold War propaganda and fear, extremism on all sides, and the medias tendency to focus on the negative, is the medias responsibility. They taught people poorly and they are the only ones in a position to fix it. It does not help that any report related to nuclear power doesnt fail to mention Chernobyl or how Congress doesnt want to let us bury nuclear waste in Nevada.

From the policy making side the understanding of the technology may be better, but its still a case of too many lawyers and not enough engineers, and the threat that the lens of the media represents is too imposing to make any meaningful progress unless the media is known to be on your side.

So before policy can change, the media needs not only be supportive, but have worked to reeducate the public enough that they will at least be less afraid of nuclear power if not supportive of it. That may sound like it borders on unethical manipulation of the media, and it indeed may, but that would certainly not be unprecedented, so the question becomes is the issue important enough? Obviously I think it is, and many would agree with me.

Emphasize the safety of nuclear power as it exists today rather than 30-60 years ago, tie it to the infrastructure and jobs programs, increased energy independence, call it a national priority, run some shows on PBS, Discovery, 60 Minutes, Larry King, O'Reilly, Oprah, etc. Then we might have a platform that a president can issue a directive from. Anything short of that kind of support and it probably wont happen.

RE: This just in
By Ringold on 12/26/2008 10:01:15 PM , Rating: 2
They're scared of bad press and a negative reaction from the superstitious and scientifically illiterate public.

Actually, I don't have a poll handy, but I'd imagine the average Joe would support nuclear if the issue were put to him. I do have polls I could link to that show huge public support for off-shore drilling; even though it's not a ton of oil in the grand scheme of things, every bit helps.

I blame the public for some things, but on energy policy, I think if it were put on a ballot and a snap referendum were put to the people (thereby giving advocacy groups no time to widely spread propaganda), the public would make wise choices. Unfortunately, the real problem stopping nuclear and everything else is environmental extremist groups, who often times come from outside a community to protest nuclear plants despite local support for the plant. They also put pressure on at the national level, and, of course, spread anti-nuclear FUD. The very first campaign commercials I saw in the Presidential race were "Friends of the Earth" (aka, Enemies of Humanity) attacking McCain for his ardent support of nuclear power.

If the public is to blame, it would be in so far as they vote for politicians who allow themselves to be influenced by special interest groups. Don't know what can be done about that; Western democracy has its flaws, but so does China's system. For example, if politicians were accountable, and carried out the will of the people and what was best for the country, Nancy Pelosi would've been ejected from her job as Speaker for holding up off shore drilling the way she did despite a flood of polls saying the public support it. No such accountability, though, because it was quickly forgotten, and people's party loyalty is a bit stronger than it should be.

RE: This just in
By Ringold on 12/26/2008 10:22:08 PM , Rating: 4
I went ahead and looked at polls.. the closer they got to the election, the worse they got for nuclear power as FUD against McCain's energy policies became more widely spread.


There is stable, long term support showing strong Republican support for nuclear as well as weaker but still majority Democrat support for nuclear power. Whether or not Democrats who support nuclear is still a silent majority or not I'm not sure.

In some other polls, where locals are asked to consider a new plant in their community, these much stronger (70%) results are common:

Nuclear also has a narrow edge in the UK:

That all supports my supposition that it isn't that the public doesn't support nuclear, but that small elements successfully hijack the political system and block it. The polls also seem to suggest to me that, with a little education on the issue, support could be shored up substantially.

This is also interesting..

"If people were adults in the '50s, they were supportive of nuclear power," said Mr. Cahill. "If they were adults in the '60s, '70s or '80s, they were opposed to nuclear power. I think people that grew up in the '90s and are growing up now into adulthood don't have the same sensitivities that we did—that my generation did—to the issue."

The old-guard Marxist veterans of the culture war losing ground on issues? I can toast to that one. The whole article gives me mild hope.

RE: This just in
By Murloc on 12/26/2008 3:18:57 PM , Rating: 2
uhm here in europe stocking nuclear waste is difficult, but in the US you got large deserts with big rocks to stock them. Just bury them enough deep, and not in sismic areas....
It would be better than carbon which is totally dirty and arretrated.

RE: This just in
By MrBlastman on 12/29/2008 12:00:36 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, if you look at it closely - nuclear waste could be the end-all save-all of global starvation.


Simple. In many areas of the world, even with adequate water supply they just can not farm enough food (facts and figures ommitted). This is a huge problem! How better to solve this?

With nuclear waste my friend!

Nuclear wa---aaaaaat? Exactly! You see, with strategically placed nuclear waste deposits, or "fertilizer' if you will, we can mutate such crops yielding fantastic variations of our favorite food. Not only that, but it will grow faster, bigger, juicier - and, an added side effect, but cost reducing measure - will glow in the dark! This will allow farmers to work 24x7 because now, they can see what they farm in the middle of the night without having to raise their power bills with expensive lighting solutions.

Look, who wouldn't want a 20lb tomato in their fridge? With a small daily supplement Potassium iodide added to your diet in easy to swallow pills (there are chewables too for the kids and droppers for the elderly!), there is no reason to NOT look forward to the "fruits" of our efforts.

Let me break it down more simply for you:

a. Nuclear Power
b. Nuclear waste
c. Fertilize the crops
d. Everyone eats more than before! (now with more Potassium Iodide™!)

I have posted plan after plan about how to solve our global dilemma but no politicians seem to tune in. There are simple solutions to our worries - we just need to be a little creative with them.

*In all serious though nuclear waste disposal is a trivial problem which can be addressed in a very safe, hygienic manner without worry of contamination*

RE: This just in
By Jellodyne on 12/30/2008 12:21:15 PM , Rating: 3
Not to mention that lucrative tommaco crop. MMmmmm... tastes like grandma...

RE: This just in
By retrospooty on 12/26/08, Rating: -1
RE: This just in
By DontUhatePants on 1/7/2009 1:55:15 AM , Rating: 1
Please... 12 yr olds cant vote.

RE: This just in
By Misty Dingos on 12/26/2008 11:30:05 AM , Rating: 1
Is anyone surprised that political bickering and special intrests have yet again managed to derail anything like progress in the USA? I for one am not.

Obama is a politician. Nothing more. Whether he will be worse than weak knee Jimmy Carter or poorly advised as George W we will have to wait and see. But if it is change people were really voting for they aren't going to get it. All they are going to get is the Clinton presidnecy all over again. I just hope he can keep his tool in his pants.

RE: This just in
By retrospooty on 12/26/2008 12:03:10 PM , Rating: 1
" But if it is change people were really voting for they aren't going to get it. All they are going to get is the Clinton presidnecy all over again"

Woohoo! I hope we do at least that well.... Of course, Bush 2 dug us into a much deeper pit than Bush 1 did, so Obama will have a much tougher task to dig us out.

Question regarding ocean power.
By omgwtf8888 on 12/26/2008 2:34:05 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder about long term ramifications regarding harnessing ocean power. I understand the magnetic pull of the moon on the earth causes the tides and resulting waves (wind of course is another factor in waves). But if we add all of these generators that the waves must power that increase the amount of work that must be performed. This must therefore increase the load placed on the pull of the moon. Now the moon is held captive by the earth. Ok so my question is where does this load get transferred to. Does this shorten the moons eventual escape from earth's gravity? Does it increase friction between earth and moon? It just seems as if there is no free lunch when it comes to power generation. Does anyone have any thoughts on this matter?

RE: Question regarding ocean power.
By iSmug on 12/26/2008 2:52:28 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, I'm no expert but the moon orbits the earth because of gravity. Tidal movement is just a product of that orbit.

By foolsgambit11 on 12/26/2008 5:33:25 PM , Rating: 2
There's still a law about the conservation of energy. You can't get energy for free. However, in relation to the total amount of energy in the Earth-Moon system, the power taken out by tidal energy harvesting is miniscule. So we don't have too much to worry about. Half credit.

RE: Question regarding ocean power.
By garbageacc3 on 12/27/08, Rating: -1
By andrinoaa on 12/27/2008 3:23:04 AM , Rating: 2
Must admit, I had a big big laugh. Keep it coming!
As for dragging nuclar back-in, it won't get off the ground because it has too much baggage. Man, you guys can't even clean the shit from past adventures, let alone society giving you another go.
Wave power rules!

RE: Question regarding ocean power.
By Gary Right On on 12/27/2008 2:37:27 PM , Rating: 1
Quotes from "EPIC FAIL FOR YOU"

"wow, the americunt edumacation system really failed you"

Besides being an ass you can't spell!

If you knew anything you would also know that the magnitude of the waves changes the mass density of the Earth which affects the resultant gravitational pull between the Earth and the Moon.

3) why would friction increase between earth and moon. THEY AREN"T EVEN FUCKING TOUCHING? do you not understand what friction is? oh what an epic fail the americunt edumcation system is. how can a person be so stupid?

4)the energy captured from the waves result in a decrease in the amplitude of the wave on earth. it uses the wave's energy. its so fucking simple and yet there are so many dumbasses who don't even get it.

is it so hard to get that the wave will get smaller because you're taking energy from it?


fucking retarded americunts

RE: Question regarding ocean power.
By garbageacc3 on 12/27/08, Rating: -1
By Terberculosis on 12/28/2008 11:44:29 AM , Rating: 2
"the moon's gravity affects the waves, not the other fucking way around."

ummm... last time I checked, gravitational force in a non relativistic seting was still given by F=(GMM)/(RR).. Those two Ms in there mean that both objects act on each other.

Unfortunately, that isn't where your argument is broken. The reason the moon is sliding slowly away from the earth has to do with the fact that the moon is slightly leading the tidal bulges as they race aroud the planet. It's been going on for billions of years.

Now, the OP asked if this wave power would change any thing. It will. Adding these wave power machines out in the water changes the dispersion relation of the wave. Not by all that much, but by enough to change things. This means the tidal bulge will travel the teensy eentsyist bit slower. Meaning the moon will receive just the weenciest bit more pull backwards. , and the earth will therefore receive a bit of a pull forwards. The whole process will accelerate the transfer of momentum from the moon to the earth.

Sorry, no free lunch.

By omgwtf8888 on 12/29/2008 10:13:01 AM , Rating: 2
Garbageacc3, you are obviously a very angry, hateful person and I pitty you. Yes i did mistakenly put magnetic pull of the moon in place of gravitational pull. But it is a fact the moon is moving 4cm away from the earth every year. I was opening a dialogue because few thinking people look at the long term effects of a technology. When Henry Ford (yes an american) started producing autos no one thought of the long term problems associated with internal combustion. Now there are 600 million cars in the world and that was inconceivable but the exhaust of 600 million cars is huge. Who would have ever considered that we could fish the seas until they were nearing depletion. A few wave generators are of course not a problem, but commercialize them, and add tens of thousands and things start to change. I don't know why you such a hater, perhaps you don't know too many Americans. The fact that you are posting on this website and that there is an internet is thanks to America and Americans.

By DontUhatePants on 1/7/2009 1:58:53 AM , Rating: 1
Oh man..

i was going to tell you to calm the f*k down but im laughing to much...

By Seashell07 on 12/26/2008 9:32:09 PM , Rating: 2
Obama has two chances of changing things in Washington, slim and none. He has many more chances of bringing the country closer to Socialism. New York City and California are the two most Socialist entities we have and both of them are taxing the productivity out of it's citizens trying to pay for it. They both are fighting a losing battle. Our government both parties have spent the country into a debt that some say is more than the country is worth. Yep Obama will have his hands full. To him I say good luck.

RE: Washington
By andrinoaa on 12/27/2008 8:06:15 AM , Rating: 1
I don't get your attitude. You oked the other fuckwit to stay in for 8 years, but you don't give the new guy a go.
Socialist? Don't crap on man, you wouldn't know what it was.
If your last fuckwit didn't go to war in Iraq, you would still be in paradise, lol. If you killed the war machine, your taxes would be so much lower. You wouldn't have a growing army of crippled veterans , to name just one benefit. I guess you reap what you sow.

RE: Washington
By Gary Right On on 12/27/08, Rating: 0
RE: Washington
By andrinoaa on 12/30/2008 3:25:25 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, he is a genius! Happy now? If he is an idiot, why are you guys so scared to call a spade a spade? It doesn't happen were I come from, if they are incompetant , we let them know. Nothing to do with hate, life is too short to let the lunatics loose.

By oTAL on 12/26/2008 2:20:29 PM , Rating: 3
the U.S. will lose its alternative energy lead to foreign competitors

Are you serious?

If you mean technological lead, then yes, the US does have a technological lead in several alternative energies... but not in most.

As for the rest, there is no lead... there hasn't been one for a long time. Check Iceland for example.... they have most of their energy from alternative sources. Most countries in western Europe have stronger alternative energy policies than the US. The US was left behind throughout the last decade.

By belowsealevel on 1/5/2009 7:19:42 PM , Rating: 2
I hate to break the news to everybody, but govt. red tape has killed more innovation, exploration and jobs than any other factor, and it will continue to do so until we elect someone who actually turns the American people free to do what we do best, and that's come-up with crazy ideas - that work. Go ahead, try and start a new-fangled car company in your garage, or try to brew your own bio-diesel, or put up a wind farm, or any other type of business, and you'll learn real quick-like what I mean. Government is good at ONE thing, and that's growing, and at squeezing the taxpayers for its lifeblood - their money. If you think Democrats are going to bring you affordable, practical energy of any kind, you're way to high and should step away from the vaporizer.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki