Tidal power on Tacoma Narrows? Not yet, according to study

A study on tidal power has concluded that tidal generation will not be feasible in the Tacoma Narrows waterway for at least eight to 10 years and that other renewable resources, like wind power, are more economically feasible at this time, according to Tacoma Power.
Tacoma Power commissioned the study as a follow up to an earlier tidal power study by the Electric Power Research Institute, which determined that the Tacoma Narrows waterway could be an ideal location for tidal generation. The second study, completed by Puget Sound Tidal Power LLC, provided a more in-depth look at tidal power feasibility.
The second study concurred with the EPRI study, recognizing that the Tacoma Narrows has tidal power potential, but said that the amount of energy that could be produced was less than EPRI estimated. Harnessing that power, however, requires advancements in turbine technology.
“Tidal power technology is where wind technology was decades ago,” said Tacoma Power Superintendent Gary Armfield. “Right now, it wouldn’t be a sound investment at this site for Tacoma Power and its customers.”
As the utility works toward meeting renewable energy goals, it will consider other, more developed options such as wind, geothermal and biomass power. “We’re not closing the door on this technology,” said Tacoma Public Utilities Director Bill Gaines. “But we do recognize that its potential is longer-term. Right now we need to focus on short-term solutions to meet renewable energy requirements.”
The study recommended that Tacoma Power pursue federal funding to conduct a pilot project to develop and test different turbine technology and proceed for an application for a second Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permit and license.
To obtain a copy of the study, contact Chris Gleasonat (253) 502-8222.