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Clean Power Marine Corps Base Hawaii gets first grid-connected wave energy in the U.S.

Published on October 5th, 2010 | by Tina Casey


U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Get First Ever Grid-Connected Wave Energy

October 5th, 2010 by  

Marine Corps Base Hawaii gets first grid-connected wave energy in the U.S.The nation’s first ever grid-connected wave energy system went online this week, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, in Oahu. As Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus aptly put it in a Navy press release, “This project demonstrates the Navy and Marine Corps commitment to lead the country toward a new energy future.” Mabus made it clear that it’s full speed ahead for the Navy’s goal of 50% alternative energy by 2020, which presents a stark contrast to the situation in the civilian world, where  certain groups are hell bent on opposing legislative action that promotes alternative energy. Hey, whatever happened to supporting our troops?

Wave Power and the U.S. Navy

The Navy has been testing a small (3-4 kilowatts) wave power device called the PB40 PowerBuoy, which was built by Ocean Power Technologies. Other wave power generators are being tested or are in operation in the U.S., but this is the first one to be connected to a grid, namely the grid at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The system is still undergoing evaluation but according to the base’s Commanding Officer, Col. Robert Rice, the goal is for the base to be entirely energy self-sufficient in five years. If that sounds a little ambitious, Col. Rice has plenty of company. Tooele Army Depot in Utah is testing wind power as a step toward going entirely off-grid, and other U.S. military bases may have similar plans.

Alternative Energy and Patriotism

Ironically, the same U.S. political party that is fond of touting its patriotic cred is the same one that is determined to twiddle its thumbs in the face of a global crisis that our own military is working hard to address. While environmental stewardship, disaster response and humanitarian relief all play roles in the military’s future outlook, the plain fact is that top military planners have determined that alternative energy is the only way to manage future national security issues. So how to explain the dawdling and pushback against alternative energy in the civilian world, at least when it comes to members of the aforementioned party: like they say, follow the money

Image: Ocean waves by DeusXFlorida on flickr.com.

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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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  • Clare

    Tina, the word you want is “dawdling”. There’s no such word as “dwaddling” and no need for a new coinage. Otherwise thanks for the barbed, documented juxtaposition of the Party of Non-Reality-Based Thinking with our more reality-based military.

  • Niall Hawkins

    WHy does that image link to itself?

    • Tina Casey

      Not sure. Thanks for the heads up, I’ll check it out.

  • raven

    I’m just wondering what type of damage, would this do to the sea life in the ocean example the noise that comes of the generators?

  • Green Gyrene

    It’s no wonder there are skeptics to global warming Tina, most all of the ‘scientific evidence’ that alarmists have produced over the last decade has either been debunked or exaggerated. Remember “climate-gate” a few months ago? Most people I know, Republican, Democrate or Independent, are all in favor of reducing fuel demand and increasing efficiency…so please leave your politics out of it..thank you.

    • @Greene Gyrene: not sure where you are getting your news, but numerous independent reviews have now shown there was no such thing as the “climategate” that dirty energy, global warming deniers, and the criminal hackers claimed there was: http://ecopolitology.org/2010/09/28/gop-vows-to-continue-climategate-investigations-if-they-win-the-house/

      the scientific evidence is staggering, and the US is just about the last place to realize it: http://cleantechnica.com/2010/10/14/americans-have-some-strange-ideas-about-what-causes-global-warming/

    • Tina Casey

      Green Gyrene: I appreciate your comments, but I have to disagree completely. It is perfectly reasonable to include politics our discussions. Cleantechnica is a science information site. In our democratic system of government, science research funding and business opportunities are fully entwined in the political landscape, which in turn depends on the quality of information available to voters. As for climate change, denying the existence of a measurable phenomenon is not likely to make it cease to exist, nor to make its impacts any less difficult to deal with.

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