Global climate change has become a catalyst for the social and political demand for sustainable energy sources. When combined with the high costs of extending electricity grids to rural areas and the decreasing prices of stand-alone power systems, this is a significant incentive to the rise of locally generated energy. Blue Energy's technology enables communities, large and small, to generate electricity without emitting greenhouse gases of any kind or impacting the local marine environment. Unlike conventional barrage systems, the Blue Energy Ocean Turbine relies on ocean currents rather than tidal amplitude to generate electricity. The array of slow moving turbines allows water and fish to flow freely and safely through the structure. Larger marine mammals will be prevented from contact with the rotary foils by a protective fence, and further protected by a backup auto-breaking system controlled by sonar sensors.
The simplified operations and maintenance afforded by the tidal bridge design will provide an environmental advantage over many other marine technologies. Because the drivetrain may be removed from the bridge deck via an electric gantry crane, there is no need to use specialized marine vessels for turbine retrieval and redeployment. On a five year maintenance schedule for turbines and a thirty year project lifespan, this will amount to thousands of hours of operation of large, specialized marine vessels fueled by diesel engines. This will not only lower overall project emissions, but also serve to lower the cost of electricity produced.
There are several economic advantages present with the tidal bridge design that will propagate the technology into the market place. Massive economies of scale, a modular approach to fabrication and installation, maximized power outputs, and lower operations an maintenance costs provide the significant economic advantages that will enable the Blue Energy tidal bridge to directly compete with fossil fuels.
As the world's population continues to rise at exponential rates, so do the demands for energy and ecological conservation. People demand electricity, and they also demand clean air, clean water, and productive land. Governments must look to economical and sustainable energy solutions to solve these demands. Electricity consumption is predicted to nearly double within the next twenty years, from twelve trillion Kwh in 1997 to twenty two trillion kWh in 2020. Growth is expected to be strongest in the developing countries of Asia, followed by those of Central and South America. It has been estimated that there are two billion people who still lack electricity today, causing energy demand in developing countries to double every eight years. The share of total world energy demand by developing nations is projected to increase from 33 percent to 44 percent by 2025, with two-thirds of this growth occurring in newly industrializing economies. Most of that growth will be concentrated in the developing countries of Asia, where half of the world’s population resides. With capabilities of supplying both small and large-scale electricity to virtually every ocean bordering nation, the time has come to realize the wide range of social benefits of ocean generated energy.