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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-06-07 03:56 PM
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Latest U.S. energy plan: Use power of oceans
Posted on Tue, Nov. 06, 2007

Latest U.S. energy plan: Use power of oceans


A year after a bitter congressional fight over offshore drilling for oil and gas, the Bush administration now wants to tap the ocean's winds, waves and currents as a source for alternative energy.

This time, though, environmental interests are likely allies, not vocal opponents.

The powerful Gulf Stream off Florida's coast is a primary target, with federal officials saying there is enough power there to supply a third of the Sunshine State's energy.

The federal government will entertain bids beginning this week for companies to put testing equipment like meteorological towers in the ocean waters to gather data on wind, wave or current energy.

The plans could mean that within a few years, towering wind turbines could start spinning off North Carolina's Outer Banks to harness the same gusts that have tossed ships out there for centuries.

U.S. Secretary of Interior Dirk Kempthorne on Monday said the 1.8 billion acres of the federal Outer Continental Shelf could become ''a new frontier'' for the nation's energy resources.

His remarks come a year after Congress argued over whether to open up much of the nation's federal waters to drilling for oil or gas. Those proposals, ultimately shot down, brought strong opposition from environmental groups and some state governments.

But now, the administration has found some common ground with environmental groups in the push for wind- and water-generated energy.

''We wouldn't give blanket approval for these things, but the bar would have to be high for us to reject it,'' said Josh Dorner, a spokesman for the Sierra Club in Washington. ``There's a lot of wind offshore. Finding ways to tap that would be excellent.''

The Department of Interior chief said most of the potential for sub-surface current energy can be found in the Gulf Stream flowing northward off Florida's East Coast. There, capturing just one-thousandth of the Gulf Stream's energy could supply a third of Florida's energy, Kempthorne said.

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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-06-07 04:28 PM
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1. Department of Interior Press Release here
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