Crist pledges $10 million to FAU's ocean power generators
By Kimberly Miller
On Thursday, those 10 minutes translated to big bucks as Crist announced he was giving Driscoll's project, which is
part of FAU's
The money, which is in the proposed Department of Environmental Protection budget, is on top of $5 million the project received in state dollars in 2006.
Crist has made energy conservation and
the search for alternative energy sources a priority of his administration. He
traveled to FAU's Sea Tech campus in
"We're looking at solar, we're looking at wind, and
to have the vast amount of energy from the
The governor's budget is still subject to legislative changes when the session begins in March.
The project at FAU aims to place turbines in that current to produce electricity.
Although harnessing ocean energy has been considered for
more than a century, no system has been installed in the
The initial three-blade test turbine will be about 10 feet in diameter. It's connected to a main mooring buoy anchored to the ocean floor and a twin-hull observation and control buoy.
It will be placed in the
The goal is to eventually have 3,000 turbines working in
underwater unison to power up to 50 percent of
Driscoll said he never lobbied Crist for money for the project, but it obviously caught the environmentally friendly governor's eye.
"This was such a welcome surprise," Driscoll
said Thursday. "It's hard to get national traction on this kind of project
and that's why it's nice to see the state of
The $10 million will help the center start other pieces of the ocean energy project that had taken a back burner to the turbines.
One area Driscoll will explore is using the cold water at the bottom of the ocean to help air condition condominiums and large buildings along the coast.
"You don't have to use energy to produce the cold. It already exists out there," Driscoll said.
The turbine project has slowed in recent months as FAU
works to get permitting to drop the first turbine in the