LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

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

Sunday, November 28, 2004

New Ocean Energy Invention by A High School Student

A high school senior has created an ocean wave energy device that will vie for the $100,000 prize in this year's Siemens-Westinghouse competition against five other finalists. The story comes from this article,
Award-winning invention turns swells into electricity
, Sherry Parmet, Union Tribune, (11/25/04).

The article explains:

To build his device, Aaron adapted a retired computer printer part for the generator. The motor was from an old answering machine. The gyroscope was from a flywheel from an older-style reel-to-reel tape deck. His project was evaluated by a team of scientists and faculty at the University of California Berkeley. Lead judge Roger Falcone, a UC Berkeley physics professor, said Aaron's use of a gyroscope was creative, original and impressive because of its simplicity. "For many years, people have known that wave energy is very powerful, but his solution using a gyroscope is novel," he said. "We actually looked on the Web and at the patent office, and we couldn't find any work done on this." Aaron said he believed the gyroscope might generate electrical power from waves because it would automatically push back against them, enabling it to absorb wave energy. Aaron said his device is a free-floating system that is environmentally benign.

Perhaps a win by Goldin will reinvigorate interest - and investment - in ocean energy in the United States.

Renewable Energy Credits - and More Renewables Resources Online

Geoff Hand of the Renewable Energy Law Blog has this link to the materials that the Renewable Energy Resources Committee of the American Bar Association posted from its November 18 presentation entitled "Everything You Wanted to Know About Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)." I attended the presentation live in Washington DC and while the room where it was held was a bit cramped, I agree with Geoff that the presentations were rather informative. The materials on RECs and also from past presentations are available online here, primarily in PDF format.

Wave Energy Hub May Be Coming Soon

The UK is working on what would be the world's first wave energy demonstrator project as reported here in
Plans to build offshore 'socket' close to seeing the light
, Rebecca Green, (11/24/2004). According to the article:

Since July, experts have been investigating a range of options to create what the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) say would be the UK’s first large-scale wave energy demonstrator project. The wave hub project aims to create an offshore electrical ‘socket’, connected to the National Grid by a buried underwater cable, to which a series of wave energy devices could be connected.
If successful it would generate up to 30mw of clean, renewable energy and could act as a springboard for the creation of a world-class wave energy industry in the UK.
The project is supported by a £500,000 investment from the SWRDA, which is targeting environmental technologies as a key sector for development.

Dominic Vincent, environment manager at the South West RDA, said: "The initial findings of the study we have commissioned are very encouraging and show that a wave hub off the Cornish coast would be technically feasible. "By the end of the year we’ll have the full picture and will make a decision on how to proceed early in the New Year." Mr Vincent added that subject to gaining the necessary approval and funding, construction could begin in the summer of 2006, with the first power generated by the end of 2006.

The SWRDA said the hub would provide developers with the next step towards commercially applying the devices and complement work being done by the European Marine Energy Centre on Orkney and has potential to create new jobs and support education and training in renewable energy technologies.

I guess we in the United States will need to take advantage of those educational opportunities being that we continue to fall behind our European colleagues in the marine renewables field.

More Time to Comment on Cape Wind

Now that the Cape Wind DEIS has issued , the Corps will extend the period for filing public comment as reported here in
Army Corps extends public comment time on Cape wind farm impact study
(AP)(11/23/04). The extension gives the public an additional 45 days beyond the 45 days initially provided, which seems reasonable in light of upcoming holidays as well as the size of the 3800 page report.

From my own perspective, Cape Wind's already waited several years to get this far in the process. In that context, an additional 45 more days isn't much, particularly where it can help to ensure that the project withstands public scrutiny and judicial review.

Scotland Continues to Develop Its Wave Resource

According to this article, Marine energy put on the map , (11/24/04), plans are in the works for a major survey of 6000 miles of Scotland's coastline to generate data that would help investors identify potential offshore sites for wave-power and tidal-power installations. Existing information about the coastal environment and the results of new survey work will be analysed to assess the environmental impact of marine-energy developments. According to the article, survey work and analysis are due to begin next spring and are expected to take more than 12 months to complete, at a cost of about £22 million.

Recently, as we discussed in this post , E2i completed a preliminary assessment of wave resources for six coastal states. From what my colleagues tell me, the data on currents has all been gathered and it's simply a matter of compiling and evaluating that information to identify potentially optimal sites. Think of how far we'd get in the US if we invested even half of what Scotland has in our wave energy program.