The Navy is considering testing whether tidal energy could be used to produce electricity for its base at Indian Island near Port Townsend, a spokeswoman says.
Depending on funding, the one-year pilot project would involve submerging two to six turbines next year off Marrowstone Island, southeast of Port Townsend, the same area where the Snohomish County Public Utility District is looking into a similar installation of equipment in 2011.
The Navy turbines would be removed in the fall of 2011 and sold following the $2 million pilot project, an effort to determine how tidal power might be harnessed in the future, spokeswoman Sheila Murray said.
In the National Defense Act of 2007, Congress directed the Defense Department to generate 25 percent of the power it uses from renewable sources by 2025.
The Navy is in the early stages of designing the tidal energy project and is working with regulatory agencies and Native American tribes, officials said.
“The Navy’s focus for the existing project is to demonstrate the technology as part of research and development,” Murray said.
Electricity generated by the strong currents in Admiralty Inlet would be used to light a parking lot or one or two buildings at the Navy’s ammunition depot on Indian Island, she said.
After a year, the turbines would be removed and offered for sale to companies or utilities, but PUD spokesman Neil Neroutsos said it was unclear whether the utility would be interested.
“I’m not sure if there’s an opportunity there or not at this point,” Neroutsos said. “It depends what happens with the pilot.”
PUD officials also considered Deception Pass and other sites but settled on a spot in Admiralty Inlet about a mile off Admiralty Head, several miles north of Marrowstone Island. The Navy is considering two places on the east side of the island.
The PUD and Navy are talking about the projects and may collaborate in some areas, including environmental and marine engineering studies, cables for power transmission and other engineering matters, Neroutsos said.