Monday, April 30, 2007

Wave Energy News: Projects Move Forward in Oregon and the UK

Finavera Granted Preliminary Permit for 100 MW Oregon Wave Park and UK Wave Hub Project Receives $43M Investment

Two pieces of wave energy news came over my RSS reader today:

Oregon Wave Energy Project Granted Preliminary Permit

First, Finavera Renewables, Inc., who acquired wave energy technology developers AquaEnergy Group, Ltd. last year, has received a preliminary permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC) to explore a 100 MW wave energy project off the coast of Coos County, in southern Oregon. The preliminary permit is valid for a period of three years, and allows Finavera Renewables to conduct various studies, including analyses of oceanographic conditions, commercial and recreational activities, and other impacts potentially associated with the planned project.

The proposed Coos County wave project would use interconnected clusters of the company's patented AquaBuOY wave energy devices (pictured right being deployed from a ship). The project would have a generating capacity of 100MW, and total annual generation from the project is estimated to be approximately 175 gigawatt-hours per-year, which is sufficient electricity to power approximately 15,000 American homes.

According to Finavera, the company also plans to deploy one second generation AquaBuOY wave energy device this summer off the coast of Newport, Oregon, in partnership with Oregon State University (OSU). During the test deployment, OSU scientists and engineers to explore the technology's potential. OSU has emerged as the leading national research institute for wave energy technology.

Alla Weinstein, Director and General Manager, Ocean Energy said, "The Coos County project is part of the next step along our path to the commercialization of wave energy. Permitting activities for this project will be based on our experience gained in the Makah Bay pilot project, which is the first wave energy project to file for a FERC operating license. This project is designed to meet the State of Oregon's policy to invest in and support the growth of clean and renewable energy sources for the people of Oregon. We look forward to working closely with the local community to ensure a successful project."

AquaEnergy/Finavera have been moving steadily towards deployment of the first operating wave energy park in Makah Bay off the northwestern tip of Washington's Olympic Penninsula for several years (see previous post).

Finavera competitors, Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (OPT), has also received a preliminary permit from FERC to explore a wave energy project off the coast of Reedsport in Douglas County, Oregon (see previous post). OPT recently partnered with the Pacific Northwest Generating Cooperative (PNGC) to develop the project (see previous post), which would initially consist of 2 MW of OPT PowerBuoy wave energy conversion devices and could eventually feature up to 50 MW of buoys.

Finavera/AquaEnergy's approved preliminary permit can be found here.

UK Wave Hub Project Secures Necessary Funding

The United Kingdom's 'Wave Hub' project received $43 million (US) in funding, moving the project much closer to completion. The Wave Hub project will be the first large scale wave energy project in the UK and is being publicly funded and constructed by the South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA).

The wave farm will feature a high voltage cable on the seabed and be connected to the National Grid via an electricity substation on the mainland. Wave energy companies to connect clusters of their wave energy conversion devices to the cable, allowing wave energy developers to test new technology, assess how well their devices work and how much power they will generate before going into full commercial production.

Three wave-energy companies are already working with the RDA to use Wave Hub, and a fourth will soon be selected. The companies involved include, Ocean Power Technologies Limited, Fred.Olsen Renewables Limited and WestWave, a consortium of German-based international oil, power and gas company E.On and Ocean Prospect Limited, using the Pelamis technology of Ocean Power Delivery Ltd. (the Pelamis device is pictured at right, being towed to sea).

The investment means Wave Hub could be operational as early as summer 2008, subject to final UK Government and EU approval.

The Wave Hub project is an evolution of the ocean energy incubator model demonstrated by the European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) in the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland. The EMEC wave energy site consists of four pre-permited interconnection berths located approximately 2km off shore and in 50m of water. The berths are connected by cables to the national grid via the substation which is set into the cliff and allow wave energy technology developers to connect their devices to the berths for testing and at-sea verification. (EMEC is also finishing construction of a tidal energy test site expected to be ready by the end of 2007).

The EMEC center helped Pelamis deploy, test, and validate their Pelamis design which is now being deployed commercially in Portugal, at the Wave Hub site and in the WestWave project.

Wave Hub will follow up on EMEC's model, allowing wave energy developers to deploy commercial-scale clusters of wave energy conversion devices.

Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Energy, with the backing of Governor Ted Kulongoski, would like to establish a National Wave Energy Research, Development and Demonstration Center near Newport, Oregon (see previoust poast) which would likely feature a facility similar to EMEC's wave test site, with pre-permitted interconnection berths to test wave energy conversion devices at sea. OSU, ODOE and the governor are seeking federal funding to establish the center (and if I'm not mistaken, the governor's 2007-08 budget included a line item to fund a portion of the center... Perhaps the announcement by Finavera that they plan to deploy one second generation AquaBuOY device with the help of OSU researched is a sign that this concept is moving forward).

Oregon, the UK (and Scotland) and Portugal have emerged in recent months as the epicenters of the developing wave energy industry. All three have pilot-scale and commercial wave energy projects at some stage of development, and buoys will likely be in the water in all three locations within the next year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, may all your wishes come true!