LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

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

Monday, February 21, 2005

Wave Project for Hawaii

This article, Is Wave Power in Hawaii's Future? , Jan TenBruggencate, Honolulu Advertiser (2/16/05) reports on Ocean Power Technology's pilot wave project off the coast of Hawaii:

The mast of Ocean Power Technologies' (OPT) wave power generating buoy is above the surface in Kane'ohe Bay, the working parts submerged. A power-generating buoy anchored north of Marine Corps Base Hawai'i near Kane'ohe already produced electricity — even during a period of relatively calm seas during testing in September — before being brought ashore for upgrades. The buoy, in 100 feet of water about seven-tenths of a mile north of the Mokapu Peninsula on which the Marine base lies, should be operating again in March. The test system is one of three wave generators planned off Kane'ohe in the next year or two.

The article gives more detail on the OPT project, but notes that given its small size, it is not as efficient as a larger project might be. Of course, those larger projects won't happen unless developers can deploy the first wave of smaller projects with minimal delay. So it's good to see that a first step is taking place in Hawaii.

California Wave Energy Developments

This article from the LA Times, Power Play , Christopher Reynolds, LA Times (2/15/05) reports on San Francisco's progress with its proposed wave energy projects. The first, is described as "a 420-foot-long snake-like device that would float four miles off the beach, collecting wave motion in the same way inland windmills grab gusts." The estimated cost for the first phase is $6 million and at this time, $40,000 has been collected with hopes for investment from private companies to pay the rest. In addition, the surfing community has expressed some concern about the impact of the project on wave swells.

The article reports that San Francisco officials approved another ocean-power project. In that venture, London-based HydroVenturi would pay for and place collection devices 60 feet underwater to capture energy from tidal motion under the Golden Gate. That $4-million effort, twice delayed, could begin as soon as fall, but there too, finances have been uncertain.

Changing Cape Wind Shoreline

Now that the First Circuit has affirmed the Corps authority to license a wind data tower on the Outer Continental Shelf (see Alliance to Protect Nantucket v. Corps of Engineers , Docket No. 03-2604 (2/16/05), the state of Massachusetts is trying another approach to maintain control: redefining the state's coastline, as reported in Windfarm debate strikes again , Mike Marzelli, Daily Collegian.com, 2/18/05. As the article explains:

State officials said Tuesday that a recently discovered pile of rocks in Nantucket Sound could change the state's offshore border and expand state-controlled water by about 12 square miles. That would push back federal territorial water and could affect a developer's bid to erect the nation's first offshore wind power farm in the sound.

Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. Edward Kennedy and others oppose the wind farm, which would consist of 130 turbines standing more than 420 feet high in Nantucket Sound. But they have little control over it, since it's planned for federal water.
According to the article, the U.S. Minerals Management Service is expected to post a notice about the border change in the Federal Registry by the end of the month, said Jon Carlisle, a spokesman for the Executive Office of Transportation, which oversees state boundaries. For another article about this development, view this article, Massachusetts making boundary change that could limit planned offshore windmills, Telegram.com (2/18/05).

Surely, there must be something wrong with the existing system for offshore permitting if a pile of rocks can make all of the difference to which agency will take the lead in licensing the project - and make the decision as to whether it will go forward or not.