LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

The web's first ocean and offshore wind energy weblog. Continuously renewed, like the ocean itself.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Coast Guard Green-Lights Cape Wind Project

This article from the Cape Cod Times, Coast Guard Calls Proposed Offshore Wind Farm An Acceptable Risk reveals that the Coast Guard's preliminary review of the wind farm has determined the proposal would pose little risk to boaters. (perhaps someone should have told that to the boaters who held a rally to protest the projectlast week). In any event, the Coast Guard explained that any navigational risks are "manageable" and further, that the project could even aid in search-and-rescue missions. The Coast Guard's 31 page report has been presented to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for consideration in its environmental analysis of the project.

Offshore Projects Part of Growth Plan in France and Germany

As reported here (9/4/03), a joint proposal by Germany and France to stimulate growth in the Economic Union includes, among other things, research projects for offshore wind parks.

Tidal Power Plant Proposed for Delaware

This article, Tidal Power Plant Proposed for Inlet, Jeff Montgomery, Delawareonline.com (9/6/03) reports on a proposal by UEK, a Maryland firm, for a tidal power project to be sited on the Indian River Inlet. According to the article, the project would be comprised fo a chain of single-file floating turbines attached to the inlet bottom with electricity generated on incoming and outgoing tides. The project could generate about 10.8 megawatts of electricity. At present, UEK has approval to install a one-way turbine system in the Yukon River near Eagle, Alaska, close to the border with Canada. Company president Phillip Vauthier looks forward to his project being the first installed in the United States.

Ensuring that Wind Is For the Birds

According to this report from Solar Access, (9/03/03), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently published in the Federal Register voluntary interim guidelines to help energy companies avoid and minimize wildlife impacts from wind turbines. These guidelines are intended to help energy companies locate and design wind energy facilities to ensure protection of wildlife resources, while streamlining the site selection and facility design process to avoid unanticipated conflicts after the construction of wind facilities. As the article reports, the USFWS guidelines focus on three key areas: 1) the proper evaluation and selection of potential wind energy development sites; 2) the proper location and design of turbines and associated structures within sites selected for development; and 3) research and monitoring to identify and assess impacts to wildlife. The guidance is intended for land-based wind turbines and wind farms on all Federal, State, and private lands within the United States.

For now, application of the guidelines is voluntary and USFWS has solicited further comments on guideline effectiveness. The guidelines will be evaluated over a two-year period, and then modified as necessary. To view the guidelines or file comments, link here.

At the same time, the article notes that the Department of the Interior ("DOI") has been separately re-evaluating its existing renewable energy programs on its lands under DOI management. It is also assessing current limitations on industry access to Federal lands. These actions are intended to both increase the DOI's use of renewable energy and to assist industry in increasing renewable energy production, in an environmentally friendly manner, on Department-managed lands. Development of wind energy is a significant component of this DOI initiative.

New Jersey Renewable Grants to Foster Renewables, Including Ocean and Tidal Power

For quite some time, many state renewable grant or incentive programs did not cover wave energy or tidal power projects, reflecting a belief that these technologies had not yet reached viability. That perception is changing, however, as evidenced by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities' Renewable Enregy and Economic Development Program which awarded $2.7 million to renewable businesses, including Ocean Power Technologies which is developing a wave energy system. Additional details about the grant program and the recipients can be accessed here in the Solar Access Report and here in the New Jersey Star Ledger (8/27/03).

New Ocean Technology for Australia

On September 4, 2003, Macroshaft Pty. Ltd. issued this press release on a wave-powered plant that operates in the open ocean. According to the press release,

The company's new power plant operates in the open ocean and forms part of a new technology that extracts electrical power from wave motion.
After harnessing the power, transmission from the open sea to land takes place in High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) sub-sea cables. On land, the HVDC cables terminate in converter stations, which perform the role of "pollution- free power stations". This power source is particularly well suited for the West Coast and for the Asiatic economies along the Pacific Rim.

So, ocean energy continues on yet another continent - and still no operating projects in the United States.

Sunday, August 31, 2003

Wind Farm Will Help Recycle Oil Field

Offshore wind isn't just a "renewable" product - it's also a recycled one as well. At least that's the case with a proposed deep water offshore wind project which will occupy a dying oil field on the Outer Continental Shelf twelve miles off the Scottish coast - reported here in Wind Farm to Breathe New Life Into Oil Field Sunday Herald (8/31/03). Here's a summary of the project from the article:

The First Minister ... announce[d] the awarding of a research grant of up to £194,000 from the Scottish Executive and Department of Trade and Industry to fund a study to design the world's first deep water offshore wind farm.

The ambitious project, which also has the backing of the European Commission, would see the Talisman-SSE joint venture building up to 200 turbines linked to the existing Beatrice oil field that could generate up to 1000 megawatts of electricity. This is enough to supply power to a city the size of Aberdeen and meet about half of the new-generation energy needed to meet the Executive's renewable energy target. The project would aim to make the most of Scotland's position as a 'wind-rich' country, with 40% of Europe's wind resource blowing around our shores.

McConnell summed up the potential of the project: 'It's the first of its kind in the world. It's using both Scotland's natural resources and the expertise and experience that we have both in the North Sea energy industry and electricity industry to potentially revolutionise the way we generate energy in Scotland.

'That is a massive opportunity. It will help create jobs, it will improve our environment and it will leave a legacy for future generations that could be as significant as some of the decisions that were made about energy policy and the energy industry after the second world war or in the 1960s and 1970s.'

The United States may want to follow the progress of this Scottish innovation and determine how it might fit with our nation's still-evolving offshore program.