Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi

California to harness good vibrations

Ripples in water made by vibrations

Legislators of The Golden State are looking to turn vibrations from traffic into electricity.

California is famous for many things including Hollywood, the Golden Gate Bridge and Death Valley. But the state is also famous for its heavy traffic, with Southern California being given the dubious distinction of having the country’s worst traffic last year.

However, state legislators have moved to harness the power of this heavy traffic flow by generating electricity from vibrations produced by cars driving down freeways.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the California Energy Commission recently voted to put US$2.3m into two piezoelectricity projects, which convert pressure into power.

If successful these projects are expected to generate enough power to supply 5,000 homes using less than a half-mile of piezoelectric highway.

There is no guarantee that this will work, but California is willing to push ahead with the technology as it has done with other forms of renewable energy such as solar, and the state plans to get 50% of its electricity from renewables by 2030.