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Cook Strait underwater tidal generators

  • April 15th, 2008

Tidal generators appeal to the belief in fairy tales that lurks in most of us – the idea that gumption and a little cleverness can open a door to inexhaustible goodies, at no cost to anyone.

And what a target this time. Millions of horse power in a surge towed through Cook Strait by the sun and moon, then released to flow back to do it again 6 hours later. I hope the visionaries who have approval to trial a turbine get it well underway before the miserable objectors can think up the downsides. I’m sure no one can disprove the possibility that deep turbines might alarm great white sharks, or disturb the migratory patterns of crayfish.

I hope Bathurst and Beach of Neptune Power make millions, though experience says it is more likely that they will lose their money and the millions will be made by those who learn from the pioneers.

We need more Trade Me type success stories.

What a coup for the Herald, to have this story when the DompPost does not.


  • Bob
  • April 15th, 2008
  • 5:52 pm

I think that small scale experiments with new technology are worthwhile. How else do you find out if it is likely to work? Also sometimes while the original idea is not feasible it can lead to unexpected new sideline developments.

I must say even if tidal power produces a substantial part of our total power requirements what happens at change of tide when the water slows and stops for a short while.

  • sfranks
  • April 16th, 2008
  • 11:12 am

I am elated that this is starting – I did not mean to leave an impression that I want it to fail, or oppose it.
On slack water, it occurs at different times in different places. For example, French Pass at D’Urville will be running strongly while Cook Strait is slack.
Presumably though few sites are as suitable as Cook Strait, because there the turbines can be put deep enough to be in the dark, thus slowing the growth of weed and barnacles.

  • jcuknz
  • April 18th, 2008
  • 9:14 pm

What irritates me with all these discusions of alternative ways other than burning fosil fuel and hydro is the way the doubters say “What if’ and ‘What When’.

The whole point to having various forms of generation is they all take part of the load, covering for each other when they take a tea break.

I had not thought of your answer, I guess it takes a nautical man with experience in the area to know that answer.

If the turbines were of an appropriate size I was thinking that French Pass and Tory Channel would be good places and could be lifted out of the ‘gang’ for cleaning. Gang = a series of turbines in a row.

Living in Ravensbourne these past few years I have though a great place for a wind farm would be Otago Harbour. The wind dies down at night time, usually, when we don’t want that much power generation. Most of the time the harbour is devoid of activity and it would be good to look out and see something doing something 🙂

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