A look at the natural world around us.

Four engineers from Virginia Tech have beat 72 other teams to win a place in the federal government’s Wave Energy competition.  Eric Paterson , George Hagerman, Mike Philen and Heng Xiao  now have the chance to win $2 million to build their design which would turn wave power into electricity.

Another Virginia team chose not to enter the contest.  Instead, they’re hoping to leapfrog the competition by installing a successful commercial wave farm in Europe.  

Marine Mammals and Fish Befriend Offshore Turbines

Aug 13, 2015

 Conditions off the coast of Virginia are ideal for construction of offshore wind turbines, but scientists see a limited role for marine energy – power generated from waves, currents and tides. 

That’s because prevailing winds on the planet blow from west to east, creating bigger waves on the west coast of continents.  Still there is some potential here, and experts say turbines can likely be placed off our shores with minimal risk to wildlife.  

Green Movement Seeks People of Color

Aug 13, 2015
Photo courtesy of the New Virginia Majority

Since it emerged in the early 70s, the environmental movement has appealed to wealthy and middle class people who see climate change as a social problem. But a group in Richmond is working to bring low-income minorities into the conversation.

Quan Williams is with the New Virginia Majority.  She says coal burning power plants are a huge problem for inner city blacks and Latinos.

West Coast Waves Promise Clean Power

Aug 12, 2015

This month, the U.S. Department of Energy will choose twenty semi-finalists in a contest to design devices that can harvest the power of ocean waves. Ninety-two teams of inventors have applied for more than $2 million, and four of them are from Virginia.

When it comes to wave power, Oregon’s coast is a hot spot.  Belinda Batten directs the Northwest National Marine Renewables Center in Corvallis.

“The waves are always bigger on the west coast of continents, because the waves are created by the wind, and they’re flowing from the west to the east.” 

Marine Energy Drives Economic Development

Aug 12, 2015

This week, we’re reporting on marine energy – power generated from waves, currents and tides.  As a state with 112 miles of coastline, Virginia should be a prime candidate for development of this resource, but so far there’s no sign of an industry.