Florida University SeeksTo Tap into Power of Gulf Stream

The U.S. Interior Department is reviewing a proposal from a Florida university to launch an experimental project to generate electricity using the power of the Gulf Stream, the warm-water current that flows along the eastern U.S. and the North Atlantic. In the first application to test an ocean current system on the U.S. outer continental shelf, Florida Atlantic University wants to install a test hydrokinetic system about 17 miles off Fort Lauderdale. According to the application submitted to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, the university-operated Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center would install a single-anchor mooring and buoy to support 23-foot-diameter turbines during a five-year test. While the system would be limited to 100 kilowatts of power capacity and would not be allowed to produce energy commercially, the university sees the project as a chance to establish a foothold for a renewable energy resource that, unlike solar or wind, can produce power 24 hours a day. As part of the review, officials will evaluate whether installation and operation of the system would affect ocean sediment, marine life, or existing human uses.