LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

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

Sunday, January 28, 2007


After blogging at this site for close to four years, the Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant has moved the LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog to a new platform, The LOCE Renewables Offshore Blog. The new platform will enable me to update the blog more easily and include reports and documents on new developments. Please join us on our voyage to the new site (where you can also subscribe to receive updates by email).

Saturday, July 08, 2006

San Francisco Still Looking At the Tides for Energy

This article, Mayor's Idea: Catch a Wave to Make Power reports that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom hopes to make new waves for his city, with tidal and current energy projects that would be located under the Golden Gate Bridge and off Ocea Beach. Here's how the project developed, according to the article:
The ocean energy idea -- which already is taking hold in other parts of the world -- got its first strong push three years ago locally when Newsom's archnemesis, then-Board of Supervisors president and Green Party member Matt Gonzalez, won approval of a resolution calling for a tidal-energy power project.
After a couple years of serious study, the nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute concluded: One: That San Francisco could tap enough wave power at Ocean Beach to keep the entire city lit -- depending, of course, on how large a wave plant it chose to build. And two: That the tides at the Golden Gate make that spot the best in the entire lower 48 states to produce tidal power, though the potential for installing turbine generators under the bridge is a bit limited by space.

Right now, the City is grappling with who will own the tidal power project and who will pay the $5 million to $7 million it will cost for this little experiment under the Golden Gate.

Renewable energy park will bolster Scottish economy

This article,
(6/29/06) shows what renewable eergy ca do to revitalize an economy. According to the article, a $1 million pound renewable energy park will use a redundant oil rig fabrication yard. When completed, the Park will
"inject more than £130 million into the economy, create several hundred jobs and generate more than £65 million of new investment for the Levenmouth area."
Read the article for more details on this exciting project.

UK Continues Moves Forward With Ocean Energy

This article,
UK Continues Energy Efforts into the Ocean
(6/27/06) from Renewable Energy Access reports on recent wave energy developmets in the UK. From the article:
A new chapter in the UK's search for a sustainable future has opened with the announcement of two new proposals for ocean energy research projects. One is an on-site wave energy project tapping the ocean's powerful swells as they make landfall, and the other, when completed, is a research center dedicated to energy research.

Hopefully, one of these days, we'll be able to issue a similarly exciting report on developments here in the U.S.

Still, despite the UK's efforts on wave, more wave power is needed to enable the UK to meet its goal for 20 percent of Britain's supply to come from renewable energy by 2020, according to this recent release by the Carbon Trust. A recent study said that offshore wind offered the potential to fill the gap caused by a reduction in coal and nuclear power, while if the UK gave wave energy better support it could develop an export industry worth up to £4 billion a year by 2050.

MMS Gathering Comments on Cape Wind and Programmatic EIS

MMS has been busy with activities relating to its Renewable Energy Program for the Outer Continental Shelf. As this article,
End nears for Cape Wind comment
(Cape Cod Times 7/5/06), MMS has taken over lead licensing responsibility for the Cape Wind Project from the Corps of Engineers and has sought additional comments on an MMS EIS.

And during May and June, MMS held a number of scoping sessions on a programmatic EIS on offshore renewables on the Outer Continental Shelf, as reported in this article (Cape Code Today, May 20, 2006). I was quoted as follows in the article:

Carolyn Elefant, CEO and legislative director of the Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition, told CCT she represents a small, year-old trade association of ocean energy technologies other than wind.

"We are representing about sixteen entities, including a few law firms and several companies or developers in some cases ready to proceed," Ms. Elefant said. "We have wave energy project developers from the UK, an American firm looking at marine current turbines (basically, an underwater, slow-moving rotating 'propellor' that harvests energy from ocean currents), and a very small project using small buoys that produce energy from wave motion."
"Our concern, and the reason we generally support the way MMS is going about its process, is that we have to be sure that potential offshore energy sites are licensed to the best use for that site," Ms. Elefant said.
"For example, if a technology used in a particular project can develop only five megawatts, and another technology at that site might produce more energy or involve less risk to the environment, we believe this should be taken into account when site licenses are granted," she said.

Sierra Club Suing Department of Defense to Speed Up Wind Projects

This article,
ierra Club sues Pentagon over wind farm delay (6/29/06) doesn't relate specifically to offshore wind, though it could. According to the article, the Sierra Club is suing the Department of Defense for failing to complete a study on the impact that several Midwest wind projects will have on military radar. In the absence of the studies, the projects cannot be permitted by the FAA. A AWEA spokesperson has this quote:
Concern over the outcome of the Defense Department study has created an ''uncertain situation'' for developers considering new wind farm projects, said Christine Real de Azua, a spokeswoman for the American Wind Energy Association.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Delahunt Supports Ocean Energy Research Zones

This article, New spin from wind farm foe, Cape Cod Times (May 23, 2006) reports on a proposal by US Congressman William Delahunt to create an "Ocean Energy Research and Development Zone" in Massachusetts Coastal waters. According to the article:
Delahunt wants to allow local towns to volunteer their shorelines for test facilities for offshore energy projects - such as wind and wave energy - if conditions are right and there is public support.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

In New Jersey, Wind Goes Coastal

Ever hear the expression "going postal?" Well, in New Jersey, wind has gone coastal with the start of commercial operation of the 7.5 MW New Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm as reported in this press release. What's more, Community Energy, the company responsible for developing the project has just been acquired by Iberdrola , a Spanish utility.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

GE Takes the Plunge for Ocean Energy

These articles,
750 Kilowatts From Waves
GE invests in world's first offshore wave farm project
(Oil Online, 4/18/06) report that General Electric's Technology Lending unit has extended a loan of $2.6 million to Ocean Power Delivery (OPD) for its Portugal wave enery farm (the first in the world as initially blogged here.
Also, GE will take an equity position as part of OPD's $22.5 million (GBP 13 million) equity raise as OPD prepares to deliver on its first commercial contract for a wave power farm.

GE's investment represents a huge step forward for the ocean energy industry. The involvement of such a large institutional player should draw more private capital to the industry and push innovation and commercialization forward. Congratulations and thank you, GE for taking the first step.

Tidal Power for Bay of Fundy?

The Bay of Fundy has long been regarded as a potential source of tidal energy. And now tidal power for Fundy is being revisited, as reported in
N.S. to get peek at draft study of Fundy tidal power

Ireland Moves Forward on Wave Power

The Irish Examiner reports (4/26/06) that Marine Minister Hails Potential of Wave Power , who recognizes that Ireland "clearly has one of the best potential ocean energy resources in Europe." With a great resource and new advancements, Marine Minister Dempsey announced that:
The time has come for Ireland to really push such areas of innovation and we are delighted with the financial support this strategy will provide for the ongoing attempts at cracking the technological solutions required to successfully harness ocean energy for all our benefits.

Ocean Energy for Africa

Renewables are making their way over to Africa, according to this article, Power play in Mauritius, John Etkind (4/27/06) - and ocean energy is part of the mix.
As this article on Mauritius describes, the country is devoid of fossil fuel and must import 75 percent of energy requirements. So the government is now looking to opportunities within the country to gain energy independence. According to the article, wave energy and OTEC offer the best options presently in the way of ocean resources.

Wave Parks Will Power Towns Very Soon....

This article, Wave parks can power towns, from the Times OnLine (UK)(4/23/06)reports that by 2010, wave energy parks off the coast of Britain should provide enough power for several towns. The article also reports that the Scottish firm AWS will trial its Archimedes wave swing off the coast of Orkney by 2007. Each device can power up to 2000 homes.

Oregon Set to Make Waves

In this article, Waves of the future, the Gazette Times (3/28/06) reports on Oregon's plans for generating renewable energy from the ocean. According to the article:
Gov. Ted Kulongoski would like to see 25 percent of Oregon’s energy come from renewable sources by 2025, and on Monday he took a look at some of the technology that could help do that: Oregon State University’s work to harness the power of the ocean’s waves.
During a Monday visit to OSU, Kulongoski saw demonstrations of the university’s direct-drive prototype buoys.
If you happen to be in Oregon next week, you can learn more about the wave energy program as part of an event entitled Can Wave Power Revitalize a Community?, to be held May 5, 2006 in Reedsport, Oregon. As part of the event, representatives from the Oregon Department of Energy and Oregon State University will make presentations on how to convert ocean waves to energy. For more information on the Oregon event, contact John Hibbs at 503 336 5382 or skipper@bfranklin.edu.

LOCE Offshore Wind & Wave Energy Blog Still Afloat

I realize that in blog-years, a five month period of dormancy verges on extinction. But that's not the case with the LOCE Offshore Wind & Wave Energy Blog: after five months of blog-silence and professional busy-ness, we're back up and running....or floating, as the case may be.

If you're interested in a round-up of activity in the offshore wave and tidal energy industry for 2005, check out my article here at Renewable Energy Access . To read more about lobbying and regulatory activities in the ocean energy industry in the US, you can also visit the Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition , where among other things, you can find a copy of OREC'sCCC Comments on MMS' Regulations of Alternative Energy Uses on the Outer Continental Shelf.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Floating Offshore Wind

Here's a link to a site with a post about offshore floating wind platforms that have been developed in Norway.

UK Removes Some Barriers to Renewables, Including Ocean

This article from Renewable Energy Access reports that
UK Law Could Streamline Renewable Energy
(11/16/05) Apparently, the new rules will adjust transmission charges for transmitting renewable electricity and eliminate requirements that a renewable generator that consumes its own electricity must sell it to a supplier and then buy it back.

Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) Moves Ahead With Buoys

This article,
Ocean Energy Devices Deployed in Two Oceans
(11/15/05) reports that Ocean Power Technologies is moving ahead with ocean projects in New Jersey and Hawaii. (from Renewable Energy Access ). According the article, OPT has deployed buoys off the coast of Hawaii (as part of a Navy contract) and New Jersey and both are successfully producing power. The next step for OPT will be to negotiate power contracts with utilities in New Jersey and link its Hawaii buoy up at the naval base where it is located.

Offshore Wind Power Coming To Texas

Looks like the first offshore project in the US may not be in either Massacusetts (Cape Wind) or New York (LIPA) but farther south and west in Texas. Why? Because Galveston Offshore Wind has just entered into a land lease deal with the state of Texas to lease lands offshore to site a windfarm, according to this article,
Wind farms expected to grow off Texas
(Steve Quinn, AP 11/6/05). Because it entered the nation as a sovereign state, Texas retained title to offshore lands twelve miles from shore. Thus, Texas controls leasing as opposed to MMS.

According to the article, the company is investing between $250 million and $300 million in the project and the turbines will come online perhaps as early as 2009. For more information on the Texas offshore project, you can view this article from Renewable Energy Access .

Portugal and Ocean Energy

According to this article from Forbes, Wave Power Could Provide 20 percent of Portugal's Electricity (11/10/05). The article reports:

Wave power plants around Portugal's coast could generate 20 pct of the country's annual electricity needs, worth about 5 bln eur, according to a study by wave energy centre CEO, Agencia Financeira reported. Portugal has a potential wave power capacity of 5 gigawatts, the centre estimates, noting that the entire global wave power market is worth only 350 mln eur at the moment. Opportunities for wave power in Portugal are a 'reality' as there is a major internal market for this kind of energy by virtue of the government's target for 39 pct of the country's electricity to be produced from renewable sources, the study said.

It's great that Portugal is so forward looking on wave energy - though if US policy doesn't change soon, we may see our developers heading over there. Which would be a shame.

MMS Assumes Jurisdiction Over Offshore Energy Development

This article from Renewable Energy Access entitled
Federal Shift Bodes Well for U.S. Offshore Wind Power (Jesse Broehl - 10/24/2005) describes some of the changes we can expect now that the Department of Interior's Mineral and Management Service has assumed jurisdiction over alternative energy projects located on the Outer Continental Shelf. For more updates on the MMS rulemaking and details on the policy, visit the Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition's (OREC) Website .

Wave Energy for the Bay of Fundy

This article, Tidal Power Study Considers Bay of Fundy, Keith Douchette, Canadian Press (10/21/05) reports that various locations along the shores of the Bay of Fundy are under consideration as test sites for tidal power development. George Hagerman , a US Professor who specializes in ocean energy toured the sites as part of EPRI's ongoing study. working on an international feasibility study on behalf of the California-based
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have joined Maine, Massachusetts, Alaska, Washington and California as pariticipants in the study. According the article, Bay of Fundy is "of particular interest to researchers because its tides are among the highest and most powerful in the world."

Wave Energy Continues to Capture Our Imagination

Though wave energy development is moving slowly in the United States, it continues to capture our imagination as evidenced by this article, Wave Energy Proponent A Hit At Conference , Joel Gallob Of the News-Times (11/04/05). The article reports on a talk by Dr. Annette von Jouanne, Porfessor Electric Engineering at Oregon State and the force behind OSU's emerging wave energy focus. Von Jouanne's talk on at a conferece, "Oregon's Ocean: It's Perils and Possibilities" received a standing ovation as she described the possibilities that wave energy holds for Oregon. Take a look at the article for additional details on von Jouanne's presentation.

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.