Walter Rhett

Google Wants to get into the Power Business (So Did Alexander Graham Bell)

In National Affairs on October 16, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Google intends to finance the laying of a power transmission cable along the Atlantic’s east coast to send power ashore from yet to be built wind turbine farms. Ahh. I said:

The cable, well within current construction and installation capacities, should also be able to be connected to projects for hydro-power that will harness and convert energy from ocean currents and waves, currently being tested under the Department of Energy’s Wind and Water Program. These technologies include fields of turbines, point absorbers, and attenuators that convert the mechanical energy of waves and currents to electrical current. Several of these projects show promising design and commercially viable costs. One, the Vortex, designed by the Marine Laboratory at Univ. of Michigan, is being rolled out in the Detroit River, with in the next year and its kilowatt costs are expected to match the costs of fossil fuel electricity.

These projects, focus on slow water flow (versus hydro power dams) and have a higher efficiency than wind. Water flow has 800 times more energy density than dry air flow (wind). Also, water flow projects on-time generating capacity doubles that of wind (30% to 60%). (
Environmentally, these projects do no harm and are relatively maintenance free.

Image 1 of 122, Journal by Alexander Graham Bell, from July 2, 190
Image: A page from Alexander Graham Bell’s journal proposing a solar motor, 1909. From the Library of Congress collection.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by walter rhett, Solar Energy. Solar Energy said: Solar Energy News: Google Wants to get in the Power Business (So Did Alexander Graham Bell) […]

  2. This is a really great write-up, when I was reading through it I could not help but agree with you. I am going to put your website to my personal set of bookmarks and i look ahead to reading through your other useful blog posts. Keep up the excellent work, this is among the better blogs on the web.

    • Dave, thanks for reading, and especially for your kind words. Do feel free to add comments, pro or con, as you wish. I’m glad you enjoy the views and writing. Thank you.

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