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Using the power of current

PORTSMOUTH - A proposal to capture electricity from tidal energy in the Piscataqua River has been filed with federal energy officials and calls for 50 to 100 underwater turbines to be submerged throughout Rockingham and Strafford County stretches of the river and up into York County.

According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the "Portsmouth Area Tidal Hydroelectric Project" would generate 8.76 gigawatt hours from each of the units annually, and the power would be sold to an unidentified "local utility."

Public Service of New Hampshire spokesman Martin Murray speculated that each of the river turbines, if built according to cited specifications, would be considered one megawatt in size, or comparable to an average wind turbine. PSNH operates three 50-megawatt units, each powering 50,000 homes annually.

Portsmouth officials have not been contacted about the proposal, said City Manager John Bohenko. But early comment from Environmental Planner Peter Britz is positive.

"It sounds like a neat project," said Britz, who requested a detailed report from the FERC on Friday. "I’m optimistic it could be a good use."

Britz said his only concerns at this early stage are visual impact, fish passage and routes for large ships, which can sit 35 feet to 40 feet below the water’s surface.

A legal notice announcing the proposal says the underwater turbines would house rotating propeller blades, move according to tidal direction and connect to the grid through "interconnection... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the "Portsmouth Area Tidal Hydroelectric Project" would generate 8.76 gigawatt hours from each of the units annually, and the power would be sold to an unidentified "local utility."
 
Public Service of New Hampshire spokesman Martin Murray speculated that each of the river turbines, if built according to cited specifications, would be considered one megawatt in size, or comparable to an average wind turbine. PSNH operates three 50-megawatt units, each powering 50,000 homes annually.
 
Portsmouth officials have not been contacted about the proposal, said City Manager John Bohenko. But early comment from Environmental Planner Peter Britz is positive.
 
"It sounds like a neat project," said Britz, who requested a detailed report from the FERC on Friday. "I’m optimistic it could be a good use."
 
Britz said his only concerns at this early stage are visual impact, fish passage and routes for large ships, which can sit 35 feet to 40 feet below the water’s surface.
 
A legal notice announcing the proposal says the underwater turbines would house rotating propeller blades, move according to tidal direction and connect to the grid through "interconnection transmission lines." Britz said the city may want to consider where those connections would be and study the aesthetics.
 
Murray said PSNH is required to connect such a project to the grid, but not to purchase the power. He said PSNH had "very preliminary discussions" with project planners.
 
The applicant for the proposed hydroelectric project calls itself NH Tidal Energy Co., with principals cited as from Washington, D.C., and Lowell, Mass., none of whom could be reached for comment Friday.
 
The contact person for FERC, Chris Yeakel, also could not be contacted.
 
According to the energy commission, anyone wishing to object to the application must file comments, motions to intervene, or protestations within 60 days of publication of a legal notice published in the Herald May 26.
 
The life of the permit, if granted, would be 36 months and include time for financial analysis, engineering studies and environmental impact. 

Elizabeth Dinan
edinan@seacoastonline.com
 
 


Source: http://www.seacoastonline.c...

MAY 27 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/2824-using-the-power-of-current
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