Is it the latest Solyndra failure or the next generation of renewable energy?

Lawmakers, together with the progressive establishment, are asking for billions in funding to invest in an attempt to harvest energy from the ocean.

Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Barbara Boxer D-Calif., recently proposed a “Sustainable Technologies Finance Program” seeking $500 billion for investments in “wind, solar, geothermal, advanced biomass and biofuels, ocean and tidal energy, hydropower, advanced transportation projects, and energy efficiency technologies.”

Last week, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, wrote an opinion piece at Roll Call hailing ocean energy as “an exciting opportunity for the United States to help advance the goal of developing clean, renewable energy, lessening our reliance on foreign oil, and creating new industries and thousands of rewarding jobs.”

Collins pointed to a tidal-energy project in her home state of Maine, the Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy Project, as the “first ocean energy project in the United States to deliver power to the electric utility grid.”

The project was funded by a $10 million Energy Department investment, with additional funds from the Maine Technology Institute and private investors.

For that amount of money, the device eventually built, called a TidGen, reportedly can produce up to 180 kilowatts of energy, or enough electricity to power only up to 30 homes annually.

The owner of a defunct power plant in Morro Bay, Calif., has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for an application to create an offshore “wave park” to generate electricity.

The company, Dynegy, is seeking $500,000 for a study to test what it calls wave-energy technology with the ultimate goal of a proposed $1 billion ocean-energy plant.

The Center for American Progress, or CAP, meanwhile, has been helping to lead the ocean-energy charge. CAP was founded by progressive activist John Podesta, who was recently appointed White House counselor with a particular focus on so-called clean energy.

Last week, CAP’s Think Progress publication featured an article titled “Blue Is The New Green: How Oceans Could Power The Future.”

The piece spotlighted Dynergy’s ocean-energy project as well as another proposed ocean-power plant by the Archon Energy company, which is seeking $1 million for testing at an offshore site.

In 2006, CAP partnered with Worldwatch Institute, an environmental activist group, to release a report titled “The Renewable Path to Energy Security.”

The 40-page study, reviewed by WND, claimed energy from tides and currents “is capable of making a roughly 10 percent contribution” to the world energy demand.

Still, the report allowed that marine energy “is not yet economically competitive with conventional energy, but it is already attractive for islands and isolated coastal communities that are off the grid.”

With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott

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