Posts Tagged ‘tidal energy’

Tidal Energy Project Report Published

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

by Steve Barrett

HMMH’s technical report entitled “Environmental Effects of Sediment Transport Alteration and Impacts on Protected Species: Edgartown Tidal Energy Project” has been published at by the U. S. Department of Energy.

The Town of Edgartown Massachusetts holds a permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) providing it with exclusive rights to develop a tidal energy project in Muskeget Channel. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, HMMH, on behalf of the Town, is managing a comprehensive study of the marine environment in Muskeget Channel and assessing the potential impacts of the tidal project on indicator species and habitats. HMMH is also working under separate state funding with the New England Marine Renewable Energy Center at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth (UMASS-D) to undertake siting and engineering studies as funding becomes available.

Read more about this project on our website.

Muskeget Tidal Energy Update

Monday, August 29th, 2011

by Steve Barrett

Last week, there was some exciting activity in the waters between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.  And I am not talking about the frogmen who were securing the islands in advance of the President’s vacation.  The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy were working together to deploy a 30 foot long barge equipped with a marine tidal energy converter to test the potential for tidal current energy in Muskeget Channel. 

The tidal turbine was supplied by Free Flow Power, a Massachusetts-based company, which has focused on extracting energy out of the Mississippi River and is now developing its marine energy capabilities.  Another Massachusetts start-up, battery maker FastCAP, was also a participant, using its advanced storage technology to store the energy produced by the Free Flow Turbine.  Concurrent with the technology testing, UMASS researchers collected environmental data including current measurements upstream and downstream of the turbine, zooplankton sampling to record physical impacts on biota, and hydrophone recordings of the background noise and sound signature of the Free Flow Turbine.  HMMH and UMASS will use the data to evaluate the potential for a combined research and development facility and a commercial scale tidal energy project to supply electricity to the Town of Edgartown. 

HMMH, serving as the Project Manager for Edgartown, continues to work with UMASS and other project partners on projects funded by the Department of Energy and Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to move the project through the federal and state permitting process.  Edgartown hopes to deploy the first permanent tidal turbine in the second half of 2013. 

Testing was conducted for five consecutive days with the barge towed to Edgartown Harbor each night to protect it from the unpredictable maritime weather.  Fortunately, the weather cooperated for the period of deployment and all tests were completed successfully.  While the project team includes the experience of marine engineers, biologists, and maritime technicians, weather is one thing no one can control.  All the project participants were happy to have the barge safely in port and find themselves busy crunching numbers in the safety of their offices while Hurricane Irene was passing over Muskeget.

Free Flow Turbine

In the News

Monday, October 4th, 2010

by Mary Ellen Eagan

Readers of a certain age (that’s a euphemism for “old, like me”) might remember a Saturday morning tv show called “In the News”.  It was not a show, really, but two-minute news clips targeted to us cartoon watchers; here’s an example on ozone.  That, combined with My Weekly Reader and Schoolhouse Rock, is how I got much of my information in those days, I fear.  I’m sure our parents thought they were as mind-numbing as we now find Y8 and other websites our kids love.  However, if it weren’t for I’m Just a Bill, I’d never have learned how laws are made (I’ve recently reviewed after 16 FAA authorizing extensions) AND then there’s Conjunction Junction.

Anyway, HMMH is “in the news” this week on a few projects:

  • Falmouth Municipal Turbine Noise:  HMMH is currently assisting the Town of Falmouth to evaluate the potential impacts of a second wind turbine at Wastewater Treatment Facility on Blacksmith Shop Road.  See story here, and a related post on the health effects of wind turbine sound by Chris Menge here.
  • Chris Menge has also been working with the folks at Canobie Lake Park in New Hamphire to evaluate the potential noise impacts of their proposed new Gerstlauer 320 Compact Euro-Fighter roller coaster.  See article here and other similar HMMH projects here.  Bottom line: new coasters are quieter than the old ones (except for the screams).
  • Finally, an interesting article on the future of tidal energy in Massachusetts, which focuses on the opportunity for Massachusetts to lead innovation in this area.  The article includes a long discussion with John Miller, our partner on the Edgartown Tidal Energy Project and Director of the Marine Renewable Energy Center at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and their work to develop a “National Renewable Energy Innovation Zone.”  The article also mentions Steve Barrett’s work on Nantucket. 

 I wonder if “In the News” was the start of our collective short attention span. 

A Renewable Energy Postcard from Eastport Maine

Monday, April 12th, 2010

by Steve Barrett

The heyday of Eastport Maine was when 13 sardine factories were processing the daily catch and shipping it by boat to city centers in Portland and Boston.  That was 13 decades ago.  (Not a very lucky number.) Today, the remnants of a prosperous past are visible in the stately Victorian homes and brick-lined Main Street with mostly empty store fronts.  Today, about 1,500 people call Eastport home.  The only way to make a living here is to have multiple jobs and at least one of those is likely to involve the ocean.  However, there is hope for a future in Eastport and most everyone hopes that Eastport’s future lies in tidal electricity generation. 

Eastport Maine

Eastport Maine

The tides and currents around Eastport are legendary.  Eastport sits on a peninsula of land bounded by Cobscook Bay to the south, the mouth of the St. Croix River (and boundary with Canada) to the north, and Campobello Island and Atlantic Ocean to the east.  The old sow whirlpool, the largest whirlpool in the western hemisphere, is located off Eastport. And Ocean Renewable Power Company (OPRC), a tidal energy start-up company from downstate in Portland, thinks that there is limitless energy in these waterways. 

The number one specials board at the Happy Crab says “Seafood Roll and Seafood Chowder.”  Chris Sauer, President of ORPC, recommends it highly and I don’t ask questions.  As the only restaurant (and watering hole) in town, the Happy Crab is the center of all social life in Eastport, and Chris has eaten many meals at the Crab.  Chris has become a local fixture in Eastport despite never visiting until tidal energy became his area of expertise five years ago.  Now everyone knows Chris.  And on this day, the day after “launching” the largest tidal energy system ever deployed in the US in Cobscook Bay in Eastport, the locals come into the Crab and offer congratulations to Chris.

But leading a new technology company start-up is one part glory to ten parts headache.  The “launching” did not occur as planned the previous day due to a technical glitch in the turbine generator requiring it to be towed from the Eastport waterfront back to the Maine Boat School, ORPC’s surrogate marine shop.  ORPC hopes that the problem will be fixed in the next month.  Permits allowing for the deployment stipulated that the turbine could not spin when endangered Atlantic Salmon smolts might be navigating the waterway in May and June so the delay prompted a phone summit with federal and state fisheries agency representatives to consider the implications. 

The beta unit, as the current tide engine is referred to, is remarkable in its simplicity.  A special barge was constructed to lift and drop the generator and foils (not blades) in and out of the water.  The barge is equipped with special equipment for measuring the performance of the contraption and the electricity it produces.  It includes an on-board inverter that converts the electricity from DC to AC before storing it in large batteries that will be transported to the US Coast Guard Station to heat the rescue boat that must be warm and ready to head seaward at a moments notice 24-7.  The whole contraption looks like a push mower.

So what’s a guy from HMMH doing in Eastport Maine eating seafood chowder and observing the ups and downs of a start-up tidal technology company?  Well, you may recall that a flagship project of our new clean energy practices is working with the Town of Edgartown Massachusetts on a tidal energy project proposed between the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.  The technology that Edgartown is proposing is the Gorvlov Helical Turbine after which ORPC has fashioned its beta model.  Data collected in Eastport on technology performance and environmental impacts can be used by Edgartown as it pursues a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to generate tidal energy in off its east coast.  And we are in the early stages of bringing the old lawn mower and custom barge down for testing in Massachusetts. 






A Sense of Scale

A Sense of Scale