Tides of change: San Francisco to study use of underwater turbines to generate power

While wind turbines provide a clean source of energy, they still have a number of short-comings as well as vocal opponents who often come from the sore-sight front. San Francisco, which probably wouldn't have the space for a field of wind turbines anyway, is proposing to decrease the city's dependence on foreign oil by implementing turbines submerged underwater that would sit on the floor of the Bay. Preliminary studies say that San Francisco's tides and currents could generate enough power to light up 38,000 homes.

Public Utilities Commission General Manager Susan Leal said that they will spend $150,000 for a study on harnessing power from the ocean's waves and currents. Mayor Gavin Newsom fully supports the proposal and added that a task force of experts will be formed to advise the city on the matter.

Studies determining turbine location and size as well as the potential impacts they would have on marine life need to be done. Also, it is not yet known who would own the project or who would pay to install the turbines.

Despite the obstacles, city officials hope to start a pilot program by 2009 which they estimate would cost between $5 million and $7 million.

[Source: San Francisco Chronicle]

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