Finally, Something I like

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Underwater-Turbine-cover-image
Our Editor, Aaron, walks into our daily writing meeting and the first words out of his mouth were literally, ”Do we like ANYTHING?” Immediately, I replied, “Moderately priced whiskey, home-made tortillas and shark fishing in a 12 foot plastic boat.”
“On the website, Gammill”, he said shaking his head, “Is there anything we like on the website?”
“Yes sir,” I said perking up, “I like the pictures and the shiny buttons and the … ”
“I MEAN, we seem to constantly write about how bad things are”, Aaron said, cutting me off, “Go find something you like.”
“Yeah, Gammill”, added Megan, who was already way too bubbly for that particular hour of the morning. “There are all kinds of great things out there, you just have to have the right attitude and see the glass as half full!”

Now, considering that moderately priced whiskey, homemade tortillas and shark fishing on a sit-on-top kayak could all be spun (in one way or another] into a conversation about the environment, I’ve chosen to step outside of my immediate choices and write about something that really could save the planet. Well, something other than Bruce Willis, because Bruce Willis has saved the planet like 14 times.


Looking back, I have addressed just about every source of energy production that exists right now; nuclear, solar, wind, biomass, natural gas and coal to be more specific. Every one of these forms of power generation has it’s own special set of benefits and pitfalls, levels of viability and environmental impacts. So when it came time to address the next alternative method of power generation, I decided to skip past all the theoretical garbage. If it wasn’t 100% viable, 100% feasible with 0% environmental impact I didn’t even look at it. That made for a really short list.

First and foremost on the list, in my opinion, is the concept of underwater tidal turbines. Thanks to our good buddy the moon, our planet’s oceans are in constant motion. This energy has been harvested in different forms since the Middle Ages when the usage of tidal mills was used to grind grain. The US Department of Energy recently identified 1,400 terawatts of potential tidal energy. That’s enough energy to
power 119 million homes, with no waste, no pollution and its 100% renewable.

Now, even as incredible as underwater turbine energy potential is, of course, there are going to be people who oppose it. Just like the bird people stood up against wind power, the fish people are already crying out against underwater tidal turbines.
Apparently, according to them, fish can’t swim around stuff in the water. The whale and dolphin people are even worse than the fish people when it comes to tidal turbines. If you ask me, we need to protect the turbines from the dolphins, not the other way around. Everyone thinks that dolphins are the cute, cuddly swim buddies of the ocean, but they are in fact killers. That’s why the Navy has a trained squad of them ready to blow up submarines. What if one of those Special Forces dolphins goes rouge, blows up a turbine and causes a brownout in California? Yes, I just theorized a Jason Bourne dolphin scenario.

The point here is that there is an energy alternative that not only seems viable on paper, its been thoroughly tested. It’s no longer an argument of potential: it’s an argument of delivery. Even with Wind and solar power there are questions of geography and transmission. With tidal energy, all you need is an ocean. Thankfully corporations like GE are already funding a lot of the research associated with underwater turbines and are pushing the development forward. In the alternative energy conversation I’m finding fewer and fewer arguing points against underwater turbines, so I will say, “Here Aaron. I like this one.”

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Justin Gammill

He is "stealthy like a ninja at midnight, yet brazen like a champion Mexican fighting chicken". Justin Gammill approaches his topics in a manner that provokes thought, laughter, and the occasional “did he just say that?”. Chances are, yes, he most certainly did just say that. So, buckle up … you never know where the train of thought is going.

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Comments

  1. A slight chuckle..but seriously. Being that the oceans are such a big indicator of how good the Earth is doing, why should we mess with them? (Other than cleaning them up!).

  2. Justin, really enjoy the “happy” way you present your articles. They always make me smirk and smile, but as Sally says, “seriously…” This is a great topic and I’d like, and I bet others would too, to know more about it. You get my attention with your humor, now give me something to keep me reading and give Earth911 some credibility.

    1. First off, thank you for taking the time to comment. I love the opportunity to provoke conversation and incite thought. If you read my article, and you’re interested in the topic, then I’ve done my job thus far. What else do you want to know about underwater turbines?

      1. Justin, you rock. I appreciate you taking the time and interest to reply. I didn’t want to know anything in particular I guess–maybe where are they in action (I live along the Pacific Coast) They sound like such a great solution–I wish we’d see more interest in pursing them.
        I hope you didn’t take offense from my comment–I look forward to reading what you’re written. I just wanted a little more meat with my potatoes I guess. Make sense? Keep up the good work!

        1. No offense was taken, trust me. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I glance over the details, but that’s based on what people seem to read most. I’m always happy to expound on details though.

          There is actually a big test going on down in florida soon. One of the newer ones.

          http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/researchers-test-ocean-turbine-generators-florida-coast-n121771

          There are also a few tests being done in rivers in Alaska right now too.

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