Increasing Demand for Renewable Energy
There is a green revolution underway to counter the effects of global warming from the combustion of fossil fuels and the proliferation of pollutants. A rapid shift towards renewable energy development is ongoing and economic projections indicate that this trend will continue to accelerate rapidly. Wind and solar power developments have been leading the way with annual capacity increases of over 30% for the last decade. The marine energy sector is poised to continue with this momentum. At present, renewable energy accounts for little more than 2% of global electricity supply. Large scale marine installations like Blue Energy's tidal bridge will help to increase this percentage of renewables in the global production of electricity.
"Investment in the renewable energy marketplace has become a great opportunity in the current economy. To finally spark the creation of a clean energy economy, we will double the production of alternative energy in the next three years. ... But we'll also do more to retrofit America for a global economy. That means updating the way we get our electricity by starting to build a new smart grid that will save us money, protect our power sources from blackout or attack, and deliver clean, alternative forms of energy to every corner of our nation. ... And it means investing in the science, research, and technology that will lead to new medical breakthroughs, new discoveries, and entire new industries."
-President-elect Barack Obama, January 8th, 2009
"The ocean energy area – about which I'm highly enthusiastic – is where offshore oil and gas was about 50 years ago."
- Matthew Simmons; Chairman, Simmons & Co., the world's largest energy investment banking company; founder, Ocean Energy Institute, Rockford, Maine (interview 2008)
Builders of large bridge infrastructure recognize the advantages of a sustainable transportation solution as the lucrative energy stream offsets the need for instituting onerous user tolls for new bridges. The tops of the machinery rooms are continuous and support a four lane roadbed for vehicular traffic, either along the top of the tidal fence, or stackable lanes within the structure.
Unstable Oil Prices
Between 1998 and 2008 oil prices spiked from $10 a barrel to $147 a barrel. Whether these fluctuations are based upon the efforts of market speculators, supply and demand factors, or natural catastrophes, this phenomenon has left consumers with a poor taste in their mouths not to mention left them feeling vulnerable to the security of their energy supply and has inspired people the world over to search for new ways to heat their homes and fuel their transportation needs. A large percentage of this is to be done with electricity instead of oil. This will add to the demand of renewable sources of electricity such as Blue Energy's tidal bridges.
The issue of global warming is a great debate amongst politicians, scientists, and industry. Topics range from its existence to its severity, its potential causes, and its effects on global systems such as the weather, ecology, and societies. One thing that cannot be argued is the fact that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions have dramatically increased along with our consumption of energy. A majority of the world's governments have acknowledged this as a significant issue and have taken steps to engage solutions to mitigate it. In order to do this, emission free, large scale sources of energy like Blue Energy's will be required.
Declining Demand for Nuclear Power
While advocates of the nuclear industry are quick to point out that this is an emission free form of electricity there are many issues that they fail to acknowledge. The costs of nuclear are very high with the average plant costing $9 billion, not to mention fuel costs. There are also safety and security issues, waste disposal challenges, water resource challenges, siting and permitting challenges, and infrastructure challenges. In the face of this, plants continue to be built. The tragic events of the Fukishima nuclear facility are testament to the dangers of nuclear power and will be for the foreseeable future.
Use of Coal
Coal is the major fuel utilized in generating electricity worldwide. It currently provides 26% of the world's energy needs and 41% of fueled electricity supply. The use of coal is expected to grow by 60% over the next 20 years according to the World Coal Institute, however, the numbers are lower in the United States, due to the fact that lifecycle costs render the burning of coal for electricity ineffective. While the carbon dioxide emissions from coal are possibly sequestered, it continues to pollute our air and water. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists a typical coal plant produces: 3,700,000 tons of CO2, 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), 10,200 tons of nitrogen oxide (NO2), 720 tons of carbon monoxide (CO), 220 tons of hydrocarbons (volatile organic compounds VOCs), 170 pounds of mercury, 225 pounds of arsenic,and 114 pounds of lead and other heavy metals. Clean coal has been heavily lobbied and advertised, though the veracity of the claims and the costs have yet to be proven. While it may offer security of supply, so does Blue Energy's technology, less the resultant pollutants.
Increased Opposition to Hydro Electric Dams
Hydroelectricity is well established on a global scale, but has limited potential for further development worldwide due to environmental impacts and the significant loss of habitat. The relatively new phenomenon of breaching dams is gaining in popularity, as the ecological devastation of large scale dams is being felt in widespread extinction of fish species. The economic costs of renewing fish stocks or erecting fish ladders are often more costly than removing the dams altogether.