LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

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

Friday, September 30, 2005

ABS Releases New Edition of Ocean Energy Report

If you're curious about the present state of ocean energy development, you might try purchasing a copy of ABS Energy Research's Ocean Energy Report, which was just released as announced in this Press Release at Renewable Energy Access. From 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 (See ABS Wind Report). 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.

Offshore Wind in the US - A Proposed Framework

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, US Department of Energy and General Electric just released this report entitled
A Framework for Offshore Wind Energy Development in the United States
. The report lays out an agenda for tapping the estimated 900,000 megawatts of offshore wind power in the United States. In a press release accompanying the report, GE Research Engineer Jim Lyons said:

“Tapping into offshore wind energy, a free fuel source that is not impacted by fluctuating prices or volatile fuel import schedules, can offer long-term competitive electricity costs,” said Jim Lyons, GE Chief Research Engineer. “At the same time, it will provide the U.S. with a means to add additional renewable energy into the Nation’s electricity mix. Further technology development will be key to this effort, particularly in deep waters where conditions are beyond the reach of current technology. The Framework recognizes the need for a cost-effective evolution from today’s near-shore, shallow water sites to the future’s more remote, deeper water facilities.”

It will be interesting to see how this framework influences offshore wind development in the U.S.

Australian Tidal Group Goes to Scotland

Proving that Scotland is fast gaining a lock on ocean energy development, this article from the Sunday Herald (9/2005), Australian Tidal Group Goes to Scotland
reports that an Australian renewable energy company, Marine Energy Power, will locate its trials of an innovative new sea power technology in Scotland because “government support here is better than anywhere else in the world”. Still, the company president noted that Portugal is gaining on Scotland as a top supporter of marine energy as well. Perhaps someday, the United States will join that short list too.

Shouldn't the U.S. Try to Invest in U.S. Ocean Energy Companies?

This online op-ed,
Hawaii: Catch a Wave Energy
by Hawaii state representative, Cynthia Thielen (9/21/05)
reflects her desire for Hawaii to move forward with wave energy. But most of the projects and technologies that Thielen mentions in her article (with the exception of a small Hawaiian wave project) are from Europe. Hopefully, if ocean energy ever moves forward in the US, at least some of the technology will be home grown.

Scotland Has High Hopes for Ocean Energy

This article,
Scotland set to harness tidal power
(Sept. 2005) reports that Scotland is aiming to
generate 10 percent of its electricity from tidal and wave power which would be equivalent to replacing a huge fossil fueled power station, the Scottish government said this week. What's best about this program besides clean energy is that marine energy is expected to create thousands of jobs for Scotland and make it a center for renewable energy.

Shouldn't the U.S. be making ocean energy a goal as well, given the potential benefits?

Manchester Bobber - New Wave Device

This article,
Manchester develops new wave energy device: The Manchester Bobber
reports on a new ocean energy device outof the University of Manchester which was recently showcased at the New and Renewable Energy Centre. The article describes the Bobber as follows:

The Manchester Bobber’s inventive features utilise the rise and fall (or ‘bobbing’) of the water surface. This movement transmits energy, which is then extracted by the mechanics to drive a generator and produce electricity. The vision is to have a series of Bobbers working together to generate electricity. One concept which is currently being explored is the use of decommissioned offshore rigs as platforms for the devices....

The Bobber’s unique features include:

The vulnerable mechanical and electrical components are housed in a protected environment well above sea level, which makes for ease of accessibility.

All mechanical and electrical components are readily available, resulting in high reliability compared to other devices, with a large number of more sophisticated components.

The Manchester Bobber will respond to waves from any direction without requiring adjustment.

The ability to maintain and repair specific ‘bobber’ generators (independent of others in a linked group) means that generation supply to the network can continue uninterrupted.

Offshore Wind Studies At Georgia Tech

Offshore wind is moving south, as this article, Scientists conduct wind energy projects, AP (9/26/05)reports. As this article reports:

But off the coast of Savannah, Ga., the Atlanta-based Southern Co. is working with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology on a similar study to determine the feasibility of offshore wind turbines. There, the research platforms are showing much faster wind speeds - 16 mph - than in the north Georgia mountains
One advantage of developing wind-generated power in southeast Georgia is that it's close to population centers. Location is one problem with existing wind-energy producers, such as turbines located in the plains of west Texas. Once electricity is produced there, it's expensive to get the energy to customers, Bulpitt said.