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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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NJBPU Betting on Tides, Currents as Potential Power Sources

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By Vince Conti

TRENTON – At its July 12 meeting, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) turned to Rutgers University to conduct a wave and tidal feasibility study on the use of currents and tides as sources of electrical power generation.  

Rutgers has been asked to evaluate the potential for tidal and ocean current generation and to identify potential locations for tidal power platforms.  

The NJBPU vote in favor of the Rutgers study was unanimous. 

The technology on tide and current generation is not well developed. Some New Jersey legislators see an opportunity to both fill in the “gaps” left by solar and wind power renewable energy and create a leadership position for the state as a first mover into a promising technology area. 

In 2022, Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak (D-18th) introduced a bill that would require the state to study ocean energy potential and set goals in wave and tidal energy generation.  

The action by the NJBPU is an attempt to look more closely at the practical potential of this alternative source of power.  

New Jersey’s 130-mile coastline is seen as a source of enormous renewable energy. Neither wave nor tidal energy has been deployed at a commercial scale in the U.S., but the U.S. Energy Information Administration holds out the immature technology as one that has great potential as a renewable electricity generating source. 

Karabinchak’s bill has passed the state Assembly and now sits in the Environment and Energy Committee in the state Senate. Meanwhile, the NJBPU gets the ball rolling with its feasibility study award. 

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