With the current tidal technology, there are currently only two locations in Massachusetts where tides are strong enough to make a tidal energy project feasible today: the Muskeget Channel between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and Cape Cod Canal.
One firm is working on the Muskeget Channel project, Harris Miller Miller & Hanson. It could take them approximately two years to get the green light to put turbines in the channel. When complete, the project would include up to 14 tubines generating as much as five megawatts of power.
Researchers at UMass-Dartmouth are moving forward with plans to build a platform south of Nantucket that could be used to test tidal speeds as well as wind and wave power. The platform would play a key role in the university’s efforts to develop a new research zone for marine energy work off Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Gloucester-based company Company Free Flow Power is working on developing a tidal plant in Cape Cod canal. They have received a permit that gives them the right to be the first company to pursue a power plant license for the site during the next three years, providing the time needed to study the canal’s currents and water depths.
The next generation of turbine technology could open up areas with less powerful tides, such as the waters around the Elizabeth Islands, as well some rivers.