Reasons for developing a diverse and sustainable energy supply stare us in the face: economic and financial dependence on foreign oil producers, the environmental and human devastation following oil spills in the Gulf and now Yellowstone River, and nuclear meltdowns. Alabama is primed to have a resilient and self-sufficient energy infrastructure. We can shore up our local economies against future energy crises by weaning ourselves off foreign oil as a source of energy. And as a consequence, create new jobs:
The United States is currently importing about 70 percent of its renewable energy systems and components,” said Phil Angelides, chairman of the Apollo Alliance. “If that trend continues, we stand to lose out on estimated 100,000 clean energy manufacturing jobs by 2015, and nearly 250,000 by 2030. This country needs a comprehensive clean-energy economic development strategy so we can ensure that jobs being created in the clean-energy sector stay in America
By pursuing diversified energy production, Alabama could become energy independent and self-reliant and, at the same time, become the manufacturing center of alternative-energy capital. Alabama would need employ all our natural resources to accomplish this goal, though. Never again should we become so vulnerable as we are today by being dependent on a single source of energy.
One component for Alabama is tidal energy: the power of oceanic waves. As reported here,
Spain’s first wave power plant has gone into production in the Basque seaport of Mutriku, located between Bilbao and San Sebastian. The Mutriku wave power plant, consisting of 16 units, will generate an estimated 300 kilowatts in power, enough electricity to supply 250 homes. Utility Ente Vasco de la Energia (EVE) inaugurated the wave power plant today in a special event.
While several applications are being tested in Spain, the facility in Mutriku is using an oscillating water column as demonstrated here:
However, other technology for developing tidal energy exists, for instance oscillating bouys:
It is high-time that Alabama develop some 21st Century energy goals like 37 other states already have.