LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

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

Friday, May 20, 2005

Legislative Updates - Some Bad News for Offshore Wind and Wave

If you're interesting in tracking U.S. policy on ocean energy, please bookmark and visit the website for the newly formed Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition, with a mission of promoting and advancing the utilization and commercialization of all forms of ocean renewables (wave, current, wind, etc...). Up at the site now is this link to the Alexander Senate Bill 1034 that among other things, proposes to deprive offshore wind farms of the production tax credit. And there's also this link to the Renewable Energy Title of the Senate Energy Bill which fails to extend either REPI payments to ocean or make ocean energy an eligible renewable resources for inclusion in a mandatory federal purchase requirement.

First Online Wave Project Coming to...Portugal

Looks like Portugal will beat Scotland and of course, the U.S. in the race to become home to the world's first commercial wave farm as reported in
Wave farm' project gets green light
(CNN, 5/20/05). The article reports:

A pioneering commercial wave power plant, producing clean and renewable energy, is to go on line off Portugal in 2006, after a contract was signed this week, project partners announced Friday. The companies claimed the so-called "wave farm" will be the world's first such commercial operation. The power generators, like giant, orange sausages floating on water, will use wave motion to produce electricity by pumping high-pressure fluids to motors, Norsk Hydro AS said. The Norwegian energy company is a major backer of the project.

The generators were developed by Ocean Power Delivery, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, which signed an euro8 million (U.S. $6.25 million) contract with a Portuguese consortium to build three Pelamis P-750 wave power generators next year.

The project will order 30 more generators from the consortium -- headed by the Enersis SPGS power company -- by the end of 2006, if the initial phase is successful, Norsk Hydro said.

Everyone with an interest in ocean renewables will be following this project as it progresses.

Policy Papers Address the Offshore Wind Debate

This article,
Deeply Held Values Fuel Debate Over Offshore Wind
(Renewable Energy Access, 5/19/05) reports on research by two University of Delaware policy scientists, Willett Kempton and Jeremy Firestone on the controversy over the Cape Wind project. Kempton found that:

"In terms of the opposition, the most emotionally felt argument, and we suspect the most motivating one against the project, is that it would intrude on a very special place and the creatures that live there," Kempton says. "Similar findings have been made about the importance of the landscape in land-based wind projects," he notes. "Our data suggest that these feelings also relate to the seascape. There appears to be something special about the ocean, a feeling that for many people underpins their opposition to the project."

Some arguments pro and con were based on incomplete information. Kempton said that some interviewees questioned the motives for building wind farms in the ocean versus on land, believing that it was a way for a developer to save money on land purchases. In fact, it is more expensive to build at sea, but the wind is stronger there. Others opposed the project because they felt it was being built in "their territory"; many supporters and opponents expected an opportunity to vote on it. In fact, the project would be in federal waters and local hearings are required, but no votes will be taken.

There's more information in the article about the Cape Wind paper and a related policy paper.

GE Eyes Offshore Wind in Ireland; PTC for Offshore Wind in US Now In Jeopardy

This article, In a Turbulent Market, Revenue Buoys GE Wind (Renewable Access, 5/20/05)reports that GE Energy expects wind power revenues this year to exceed a 300 percent increase over its first year of operation in 2002. And GE may have more offshore operations as well with the successful deployment of an offshore wind plant built by GE in the Irish Sea to demonstrate its offshore technology and learn more about the rigors of wind energy installation and operations at sea. The GE Arklow Project, owned and operated by GE, is the world's first offshore wind project to use turbines over three MW, has completed more than a year of successful operation.

Too bad things don't look as promising for the future offshore wind in the U.S. Here's another article on Senator Lamar Alexander's so-called Environmentally Responsible Wind Development on its potential impact on the wind industry in the U.S. (also, visit the Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition Website for frequent legislative updates).