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Tidal power’s effects on Whidbey

Dr. Brian Polagye will speak Wednesday in Freeland on the effects of tidal power projects on Whidbey Island.  - Courtesy photo
Dr. Brian Polagye will speak Wednesday in Freeland on the effects of tidal power projects on Whidbey Island.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

What are the opportunities for tidal power? And what might be the unintended side effects? How might the answers matter to us on Whidbey Island?

Find out some of the answers to this exploration of a new type of renewable power Wednesday, Feb. 16, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House, off Highway 525 north of Freeland. Suggested donation is $5. Coffee will be served.

Hydrokinetic turbines use the kinetic energy in fast-moving tidal currents to generate electricity.

Puget Sound has a regionally significant tidal resource and projects by Snohomish County PUD and the U.S. Navy are moving towards at-sea demonstrations by early 2013.

Because the economic, technical, and environmental effectiveness of tidal hydrokinetics are largely unproven, these will be high profile endeavors with the potential to make or break the emerging North American industry.

Dr. Brian Polagye will provide an overview of the state of the industry, describe some of the challenges to sustainable commercial development, and give an in-depth look at cutting-edge tidal energy research at the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center.

Polagye received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 2009 from the University of Washington and also holds a bachelor’s of science from Princeton University. In his spare time, he enjoys scrambling around and over Washington’s mountains.

The Unitarian Universalist Meeting House is located two miles north of Freeland at 20103 Highway 525. For information or directions call 360-331-2163.

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Whidbey Island is in partnership with the Whidbey Institute and Transition Whidbey to offer a Lyceum series emphasizing the ethical and moral issues that underlie the scientific process and its outcomes. Each month hosts a different speaker.

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