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Open Access A Critique of Alternative Power Generation for Florida by Mechanical and Solar Means


Using observations of surface winds, solar radiation, ocean currents and waves collected by the University of South Florida, Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System (COMPS), augmented by other data and numerical model simulations, we address the potential for electrical power generation for Florida by harnessing the natural energy sources of wind and solar, along with ocean currents and waves. We begin by identifying what nature offers. For wind and solar, we use specifications from existing, commercially available devices to convert nature’s bounty to power-generation estimates. In the absence of mature, commercially available devices for ocean currents and waves, we draw upon physical principles to arrive at power-generation estimates for these potential sources. On the basis of what nature offers and what machinery may be capable of producing, we then make reasonable extrapolations on what these estimations may mean in a practical sense for supplying energy to society. Power generation from these naturally occurring, alternative energy sources, particularly wind and solar, may provide a means for supplementing power generation by conventional fuels but does not provide a replacement for conventional fuels.

Keywords: alternative power generation; ocean observations; windmills, watermills, waves, solar

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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