LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

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

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Research Report on Ocean Energy Available for Purchase

This Press Release reports on Research and Markets announced its 2005 report of the Ocean Energy Report Tidal, Wave, Ocean Thermal, Marine Current. According to the press release:
The report outlines these technologies, with their state of development as technologies and industries. The status of each industry is described in each country where it has a base or is under trial.

A key fact now emerging is the need to transfer technology and know-how
from the existing offshore industry to the new marine renewable energy
industry. The offshore oil and gas industry has already contributed
substantially to the development of offshore wind power technology. It is also
becoming clear to many companies in the offshore oil & gas industry that with
resource depletion, their future lies in a capability to diversify their
skills and services into future renewable energy sources. This coincidence of
needs is becoming a key driver to the development of marine renewables.

Calls for More Government Support for Australia Wave Energy Project

This article,
Wave technology at risk of being swept away, ALP warns
(5/4/05) reports that the Australian Federal Opposition has warned the technology behind the wave energy plant at Port Kembla on the New South Wales south coast could move out of the country unless it receives more Government support.

Offshore Wind for China

This piece from MSNBC, Offshore Project Goes Forward After Law Provides Incentives (5/3/05) reports on how the Chinese Island of Nan'ao's plans for an offshore wind system. The island, which now has an onshore wind project benefits from a new renewable energy law passed by China’s parliament in February, which sets tariffs in favor of non-fossil energy, such as wind, water and solar power.

Cape Wind Enters Collaboration With Nai Kun Wind Company of BC

This article,
Cape Wind goes bi-coastal
(5/2/05) reports on a collaborative effort between East Coast based Cape Wind and west coast, British Columbia Nai Kun Wind. The article reports:
The companies, leaders in offshore wind development in their respective companies, will provide for joint procurement of foundations, towers, turbines and blades for both projects. In addition, inter-turbine cabling and under-sea transmission cabling will also be procured jointly. The companies will pool skills and experience on other aspects of the projects, such as maintenance regimes, marine service vessels and best practices.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Press Release: Former Energy Secretary Abraham Supports Ocean Renewables in the Energy Act

Here's the text of a recent Press Release that's important enough to publish in full, here:

WASHINGTON, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham expressed his strong support for all viable energy options -- including electric generation from ocean resources -- at the Energy Ocean Conference 2005. "The time is right for ocean energy technologies that capture the energy from ocean currents, waves, tides, offshore wind, and temperature differentials. We cannot afford to overlook the vast potential of ocean energy as we continue to develop our strategic energy security options," Abraham stated. "The ocean energy industry has matured over the past few decades, and the technologies are becoming commercially viable at a time when our nation seeks greater energy independence. The time is right," he added.

Carolyn Elefant, Legislative Director for Ocean Renewable, a Washington, D.C.-based ocean energy lobbying group, emphasized the need for legislative and regulatory reforms to support the development of ocean renewable technologies, "We need to leave no rock unturned in developing answers to our energy needs, including our rich ocean energy resources." Elefant stated, "As the White House pushes for streamlining the legal and regulatory permitting obstacles to nuclear and fossil fuel options, it's vital for our energy security to keep renewable options open and promote those that present commercially viable resources. With energy security at stake, we cannot afford to leave any option for granted."

Richard Meyer, Executive Director of the Ocean Energy Council echoed these concerns and added, "Over the past few decades ocean energy has been tested with the commercial viability receiving varying successes; yet, the physics are proven. The host of new technologies, along with the commercial successes of wind and other renewable resources, provide vast horizons for meeting our energy needs using clean, environmentally sound, reliable, and cost-effective solutions."

The 2005 Energy Bill recently passed the House of Representatives and is headed to the U.S. Senate. Congressman Inslee, who successfully included two amendments in the final House bill to advance ocean energy development, remarked, "I hope the ocean energy industry continues to grow as we move toward a goal of breaking our dependence on foreign oil. Protecting the environment, increasing employment and promoting technology can all be achieved by pursuing creative solutions to renewable energy, such as ocean power."

The press release includes quotes from Richard Meyer of the
Ocean Energy Council and me, the new Legislative Director at Ocean Renewable .

Good Luck, Long Island, With the LIPA Offshore Project!

In this post, Huge Offshore Wind Turbines for Long Island?(MSNBC - 4/27/05), we learn that the Long Island Power Authority has filed its application for offshore wind the the Corps of Engineers and simultaneously luanched a public relations campaign to get support for the offshore wind turbines.

Since my renewable background comes by way of the frequently contentious field of hydroelectric licensing, I've long realized that the renewable name is not enough to combat NIMBY sentiments and environmental opposition. As recently as a few years ago, many newer renewable developers failed to realize this, believing instead that providing green energy would be sufficient to make their projects acceptable. But now most renewable developers - like any others - recognize the need to get public support behind projects, to be up front about impacts and willing to mitigate if necessary. Unfortunately, these steps can be time consuming and costly - and can pose an impediment to newer and less well-financed renewable projects.

Offshore Wind for Georgia?

This article, Georgia Tech Savannah's Alternative Energy Research Set To Take Center Stage (Savannah Business 4/25/05) reports on a new program starting at Georgia Tech-Savannah to explore and develop alternative forms of energy. The university is co-hosting a conference on the subject, "Alternative Energy Technology Innovations: The Coming Boom,” May 12-13 at its Savannah campus in the Crossroad Business Center in Pooler.
The conference is co-hosted by InfinitEnergy and the Georgia Tech Strategic Energy Initiative and sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The two-day event will offer an in-depth look at the current state of innovative alternative energy technologies, their potential economic impact and future directions in wind energy, solar energy, tidal energy, biomass and hydrogen.

The program would focus on offshore wind as well as tidal power. According to a source quoted in the artice, Savannah has the leg up on a lot of other places when it comes to producing this type of energy because it has significant tides twice a day. Under the program, one to two submerged structures harnessing the power of the waves would be placed offshore and done in conjunction with the wind harnessing project.

The Savannah program, as well as a program at Oregon State University (see this previous post show that support for wave projects may be coming from the universities - which is good news for the future of the technology.

Private Wave Power Beats NZ Government Program

According to this article, Wave energy company gets jump on rival , (4/24/05), a private Auckland, New Zealand company is hoping to beat the New Zealand government to bring wave power to the country. The article reports that Power Generation Projects, a small Auckland alterantive power company is negotiating with Britain's Ocean Power Delivery system to bring its Pelamis project to New Zealand. Pelamis has been tested off the coast of Scotland and has fed power into the UK grid. Pelamis wave energy converters are also about to begin commercial service in a Portugese alternative power scheme within weeks.

Power Generation believes that if commerical viability is proven, that Pelamis wave energy converters could feed the local grid in a little over two years, well ahead of the government's four year project to develop a wave energy prototype.

In my view, it's this foreign market that the U.S. misses out on by failing to fund wave energy. There are opportunties for exporting or licensing ocean technologies in other countries - but U.S. companies can't do that unless they can find funds for development and fewer barriers to testing new technology. And that's not the present environment, though perhaps that may all change soon.

New Norwegian Wave Energy Concept for Island Development

From the Malta Times, (5/5/05) comes this report,Wave Energy - New Concept from Norway on a new wave energy device from Norway. The article reports:

According to Rolf Almklov, commercial counsellor at the Embassy of Norway with offices in Rome and Milan, who was in Malta recently, the European Commission has just confirmed a €1 million grant to WAVEenergy AS, a Stavanger (Norway-based company set up a year ago to develop the Seawave Slot Cone Generator (SSG) concept. This company is using this grant for a pilot project on the island of Kvitsoy, Norway, where it is developing a full-scale technical prototype of the SSG breakwater structure and install this on the west coast of this island in an estimated 15 kW/m wave climate.

Meanwhile Wave Energy AS is performing wave data recordings on the west side of this island to determine the wave climate on the site. Real-time wave data can even be viewed on WE's Website www.waveenergy.no

Split in four parts, this project will focus on data collection and design; the manufacture and installation of the SSG civil structure; the installation of a multi-level water turbine with approximately 150 kW installed capacity and the installation of an electricity generator and grid connection.

This energy concept is based on storing potential energy of the incoming waves in several reservoirs placed one above the other. The incoming wave will run up a slope, and on its return it will flow into the reservoirs. After the wave is captured inside the reservoirs, the water will run through the multi stage turbine.

Holding two patents, WAVEenergy AS gives the advantage to harness wave energy in several reservoirs placed one above the other - which will in effect increase the hydraulic efficiency. The multi-stage turbine has the advantage of using different heights of waterfall on a common turbine wheel.

This technology will prevent any start/stop sequence on the turbine even if only one reservoir is supplying water to the turbine. From tests carried out by this company, a 500m long full scale SSG construction along a coastline with a 15kW/m wave climate will be able to produce 18 GWh/year. And this without any plume of smoke in sight.

With Malta being an island as well, there is nothing to stop the local authorities or private companies from co-operating with this company for tests to be made locally to establish whether such a concept can be imported.

This wave energy concept can be integrated in three modes, all three being very low-profile installations. It can be adapted in a breakwater construction. Here the SSG will be produced in sections onshore and then towed on site. This will be a cost effective wave converter, utilising the foundation of the breakwater. The SSG will provide the breakwater with infrastructure, including electricity and may be combined even with fresh water production!

An interesting development worth watching for potential applications both in Malta and other islands.