BOURNE – The Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative recently tested its first test turbine at its Bourne Tidal Test Site, with hopes it will spark an uptick in tidal energy use.
The Bourne Tidal Test Site is the only permanent testing site designed specifically for medium-sized tidal turbines in the world.
The test site allows a transition from testing in a university to full scale, avoiding some of the failures that have happened when deploying prototypes too quickly.
The turbines, which range from 10 feet to 30 feet, are 1% the cost of full-scale testing sites.
The test allowed MRECo to monitor the potential environmental impacts of the turbine.
Due to their shorter blades and subsequent slower tip speed, underwater turbines, as opposed to wind turbines, offer a cleaner and ecofriendly form of energy.
“One of the real advantages of tidal energy is that it’s underwater, it can’t be seen, and the environmental impact is literally nothing,” said John Miller, Executive Director of the Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative.
The turbines would not have a major affect on commercial fishing in the area, as they would be placed in areas of higher water speed, whereas fish tend to live in areas of lower water speed.
Miller estimates that tidal turbines could provide 10% of the world’s electrical energy, while wave energy would provide all of the world’s electrical energy.
“One of the real advantages of tidal energy is its predictable,” said Miller. “You can predict tides 100 years ahead of time, where wind and other sources are not so predictable.”
The test site has garnered support from multiple lawmakers in the state of Massachusetts.