Bridging the gap

This last week, I had the privilege of attending the Oregon Wave Energy Trust’s Annual Conference, which was held in beautiful Astoria, Oregon.

When I arrived in town and set out to explore before the conference started, I enjoyed chatting up the locals and quizzing them on tidal energy and the role it had in the global energy mix. The college student who delivered a pizza to my hotel room commented that he actually was an oceanography student that went out on a research boat and assisted with some sort of turbulence testing. Another lady behind the counter of an eclectic shop launched into a passionate expose explaining the benefits of tidal energy as opposed to conventional hydropower.

Even more intriguing was the couple I sat by at a networking lunch that openly explained that they had attended the conference to learn more about the industry after hearing rumors of a substation being built near their home.

These conversations always led to me being asked what I did specifically, and when I said that I was an editor of a magazine covering hydroelectric power in North America and abroad, the reactions were worth mentioning. A mix of surprise, speculation, and a raised eyebrow was the main response to my occupation, a strong difference to what I would hear if I were in Canada or even Tennessee.

Again, I am intrigued by the dynamic that exists between the wave, tidal, and in-stream industry and conventional hydropower.

From the perspective of the journalist, I see them both as integral pieces of an emerging renewable energy mix that take full advantage of one of the world’s most plentiful resources: water.  As an editor of HydroReview, I cover them both and enjoy reading about the latest case studies and technologies you all are contributing to the field. In addition, I am involved in recruiting speakers for the Wave, Tidal, and In-Stream conference track at HydroVision International 2014. All in all, I have an appreciation for both and see how they meld together to create a stronger renewable energy portfolio.

I sense a slightly different dynamic, however, when I discuss bridging the gap between the two, and would like to hear both sides of the discussion. Do the two connect? What are your thoughts? Respond below and let me know what you think regarding the connection (or lack thereof) between conventional hydropower and wave, tidal, and in-stream power. 

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Bethany Duarte formerly was associate editor of Hydro Review and HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide magazines.

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