Wave Power For Less

Scientists have come up with a simple, effective design for a wave powered generator, eliminating many of the complexities that have hampered earlier conceptual designs for power generation from ocean waves. An electrical coil attached to a moored buoy is passed through a stack of magnets secured to the ocean floor, generating an alternating electrical current. This design is much simpler than other conceptual generators, eliminating the troublesome hydraulics or rotary designs.

Interest is high in developing wave generation capabilities. Studies show that wave farms placed in strategic locations would be active approximately 50% of the time, as opposed to some wind farm that are idle 75% of the time due to lack of appreciable winds.

Speaking of wind farms, some environmentalists are not all that keen on wind farms. In particular, the collection of windmills in the Altamont Pass east of San Francisco has long been a sore point. The problem is birds. Wind farms, with thousands of spinning wind mills generating electricity, are whirling deathtraps for birds. Particularly vulnerable are raptors like eagles and hawks. You’d think such sharp-eyed birds would be able to avoid great big wind mills, but then raptors don’t really look where they’re going; they are busy scouring the ground for mice and rabbits. The wind mills in Altamont Pass record 800 to 1300 bird strikes a year, a tremendous toll on these species.