A report prepared for Tacoma Power’s 750-kW Narrows Tidal Energy project concludes tidal generation will not be feasible in the Tacoma Narrows waterway for at least eight to ten years.
Puget Sound Tidal Power LLC prepared the study for Tacoma Power. While finding tidal power potential for the Tacoma Narrows in Puget Sound is less than earlier projections, it recommends federal funding be pursued for a pilot project to develop and test turbine technologies. (HNN 6/12/07)
ï¿½Tidal power technology is where wind technology was decades ago,ï¿½ Tacoma Power Superintendent Gary Armfield said about the findings. ï¿½Right now, it wouldn’t be a sound investment at this site for Tacoma Power and its customers.ï¿½
Tacoma Power said its survey of 42 tidal and river turbine developers determined none are at a point where they can provide a proven turbine solution at a scale appropriate for a meaningful pilot or commercial project.
While working toward meeting renewable energy goals, Tacoma Power said it would consider other, more developed options, such as wind, geothermal, and biomass power.
ï¿½We’re not closing the door on this technology,ï¿½ Tacoma Public Utilities Director Bill Gaines said. ï¿½But we do recognize that its potential is longer-term. Right now we need to focus on short-term solutions to meet renewable energy requirements.ï¿½
Tacoma Power plans to spend time analyzing the study before determining next steps. The municipal utility did say that it would discuss partnering with other organizations to further develop tidal technology.
Tacoma Power’s preliminary permit for the Narrows Tidal Energy project (No. 12612) expires in January 2009.
ï¿½It is reasonable to assume that the remaining year of the existing preliminary permit period will be used to make a go, no-go decision and establish a team to move forward with future design and development,ï¿½ Tacoma Power said in a progress report filed with FERC.
If a decision is made to proceed with the project, Tacoma Power said it would apply for a second preliminary permit upon the expiration of the current permit.