Hydrokinetics for the First State

COMMENTARY

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

In response to the Governor’s 10/2/15 weekly message on “Combating Climate Change While Growing our Economy”, there is another practical, economical and environmentally compatible energy source currently available, i.e.: HYDROKINTETICS.

In-line hydrokinetics differs from traditional hydroelectric generation as it does not require dams or natural waterfalls – only water flow at 4.2 Knots or greater and has in contrast, an extremely low environmental impact throughout its life cycle. Furthermore, it can produce electricity with zero GHG emission cheaper than a conventional coal-fired power plant.

UEK_turbines_install_500

[Photo: UEK Corporation]

The idea was first publically introduced in Delaware during a public meeting regarding a proposed Indian River Inlet power generation project in Ocean View in 1993. The Indian River Inlet is the second fastest inlet along the entire US Eastern Seaboard with vast untapped electricity generation potential, close to a large demand area.

Unfortunately, the federal government inaccurately classifies hydrokinetic power applications in the same category as large hydroelectric dam projects at their high environmental impact levels and requires the same technical paperwork and economic burden for a truly sustainable technology, capable of solving a significant portion of growing worldwide power demand. State energy and economic development policies are similarly nonconductive.

Properly designed, implemented and maintained, state-of-the art hydrokinetic turbine generators in the Indian River Inlet will not interfere with fishing or navigation or even effect scenic views as they are enclosed in fish meshes and installed underwater below navigation depth at a sufficient margin of safety.

The State of Delaware can lead the world in economical and environmentally sustainable power generation and create high-paying jobs through lower energy costs, while meeting or exceeding its stated GHG reduction goals, if it realizes that hydrokinetics is an idea whose time has come.

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