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  • Friday, January 27, 2023
  • Hilcorp Considers Cook Inlet Natural Gas Platforms for Tidal Energy Test Sites

ACEP researchers are helping Alaska energy giant Hilcorp to explore a retirement use for their aging natural gas platforms in Cook Inlet.

Ben Loeffler, UAF’s co-director of the Pacific Marine Energy Center, spoke with reporter Sabine Poux of public radio station KDLL in Kenai to share his thoughts on potentially testing the production of tidal renewable energy at the platforms. With Cook Inlet boasting some of the largest tides in the world and holding more than a third of the U.S.’s tidal energy potential, Loeffler sees a promising future for this renewable energy; however, the technology has a long way to go.  

“The technology is still a ways off. There’s no mass production of turbines, yet, and companies are taking different approaches to see what sticks,” Loeffler said during the KDLL interview. “They’ll have to figure out how much production costs are, and will have to answer key environmental questions, too, like how the turbines will interface with salmon and endangered beluga whales.”

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Hilcorp's offshore Spark platform rises above Cook Inlet. Photo provided by Creative Commons and taken by Ground Truth Trekking.