The strong tidal currents flowing in and out of San Francisco Bay used to be one of the deterrents to prisoners trying to escape from the prison at Alcatraz by making it extremely difficult to get from the island to the mainland. Soon, those same currents may be put to use to provide electricity to communities in the Bay Area. Pacific Gas and Electric Company is teaming up with San Francisco and Golden Gate Energy to examine the viability of installing tidal power generators in the water to harness all that energy.

The feasibility study will start this summer and should be complete in about a year. They will measure how much energy might be available and look at the technologies that are available to capture some of that energy as well as do an environmental impact study. PG&E will kick in $1.5 million to fund the study by outside consultants and San Francisco will put in another $346,000. A study by the Electric Power Research Institute in 2006 indicated that the tides of San Francisco Bay could provide one of the biggest sources of tidal power in the world.

[Source: Pacific Gas and Electric]

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