Utility to Test Sytem to Turn Puget Sound Tide Into Power

A Washington state utility plans to test a system that converts the motion of the tides in Puget Sound into electricity.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a 10-year license to Snohomish County Public Utility District to install a 600-kilowatt tidal-power system, the agency said today in a statement.

The utility’s Admiralty Inlet Pilot Tidal Project near Seattle will evaluate the commercial viability of marine-energy systems in Puget Sound.

The marine-power industry, which harnesses waves and tidal energy to generate electricity, is relatively immature compared to other forms of renewable energy. Wave power costs about $496 a megawatt-hour and tidal about $440 a megawatt-hour. That compares to $82 for power produced from burning coal, according to Bloomberg estimates.

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