Ocean Energy on the Verge of Rapid Growth?

January 6, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Ocean Energy

Is the global ocean energy industry at a turning point? With all the attention focused on energy efficiency and smart grid, and with more mature renewable sectors like wind struggling, we haven’t heard much about ocean energy in the last year or two.

Financing is tight and venture capital is extra-cautious as the world struggles to get through this tough recession. It’s not the best time for a new industry to gain footing.

High initial costs and long development lead times makes the industry dependent on government support. Ocean energy has received much less support than solar or wind, but that could change. Costs are high because prototypes must stand up to ocean storms, and in the U.S. they must navigate a confusion of overlapping offshore permitting authorities.

After only a dozen wave and tidal prototypes were installed in 2009, more than 45 projects will have been tested in 2010 and 2011, according to IHS Emerging Energy Research. If these prototypes are successful, IHS believes the global ocean energy project pipeline is poised to begin scaling. They estimate that more than 1.8 GW of ocean projects in 16 countries are currently in the pipeline.

Ocean Energy

Could Ocean Energy be Problematic for Marine Life?

But concerns are surfacing that the electro-magnetic fields created by tide and wave generators (and the cables that bring their electricity to shore) could interfere with the natural guidance systems used by marine life.

Salmon, sharks, sea turtles, lobsters and crabs are among the marine life that use internal compasses that rely on the Earth’s magnetic fields. They travel thousand of miles each year using the earth’s magnetic fields to navigate. Ocean energy machines might also produce a low hum that could interfere with communication among whales. It’s long been known that the use of military sonar poses a deadly threat to whales, many of which have been found dead or dying following massive sonic blasts.

Research hasn’t been done on how these power devices affect the marine environment.

Promise for Energy Supply

The Northwest Power Planning Council estimates ocean energy could eventually supply 10% of US energy, with 50,000 MW off the Northwest coast, equal to the output of 50 nuclear plants.

Other sites under consideration are off the coast of Maine, Hawaii, Alaska, Florida and in the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge.

Thanks to government policy support, the UK holds the lead in ocean energy - 300 MW of projects are in the pipeline to be installed over the next five years. The UK wants to add 1.3 GW by 2020 to help meet its legally binding 2020 renewable targets. Ireland, France, Portugal, South Korea and Australia are also key ocean energy markets and will remain the industry’s primary focus for the next decade, according to IHS.

And it’s not just tiny, start-ups that are pushing the field forward. A slew of established energy firms, including leading European utilities and global technology suppliers with hydro and offshore wind experience, are interested in establishing leadership positions.

Of the various forms of ocean energy, tidal energy is poised to mature first because it offers the promise of predictable, lower-cost electricity and a standard design.

“The strong synergies between tidal turbine manufacturing and the hydropower industry have attracted major power sector OEMs,” says IHS Senior Renewable Power Analyst Marianne Boust. “Over the past two years, all three of the major hydropower turbine vendors - Andritz Hydro, Alstom Hydro, and Voith Hydro - who account for over 80 percent of the global hydro turbine supply, have jumped into the tidal sector.”

Because these large hydro players see tidal energy as a synergistic growth opportunity, they are crucial to catalyzing quick development and commercialization of the tidal industry. They could help the ocean energy industry overcome its technological challenges and drive down costs.

Key companies that are active in scaling Europe’s offshore wind industry are also eyeing ocean energy as they scale their renewable portfolios. Iberdrola-ScottishPower, Vattenfall, RWE and SSE all have a strong presence in offshore wind. Each is broadening to include ocean energy. A few have taken equity stakes in ocean technology firms, but most are funding project development through joint ventures.

Ocean Power Technologies Leads

The only pure-play publicly traded company in ocean energy is Ocean Power Technologies (OPTT), which is developing the first commercial scale wave energy system in the US off the coast of Oregon. The 1.5MW wave energy system, which will power about 1000 homes, is expected to be deployed in 2011.

In September, OPTT received $4.8 million in funding from the US Department of Energy, on top of $2 million it received in 2008. They are using the funds to construct the Oregon project and to develop its next generation 500kW system, which will have greater power extraction efficiency. The company is also focused on implementing a “Design-for-Manufacture” approach and reducing maintenance costs, to achieve lower installed capital and energy costs and make wave power more competitive with fossil fuels.

Also in September, OPTT connected a wave energy device to the US grid for the first time at the US Navy’s Marine Corps Base in Hawaii. The connection demonstrates the ability of wave systems to produce utility-grade, renewable energy that can be transmitted to the grid.

The Navy has supported Ocean Power’s technology development through its $15 million Littoral Expeditionary Autonomous PowerBuoy (LEAP) program. OPTT is providing an autonomous wave energy conversion system for the Navy’s near-coast anti-terrorism and maritime surveillance program.

OPTT is also working with Mitsui Engineering Shipbuilding Co to apply its technology off the coast of Japan. In October 2009, a Japanese consortium signed a MOU to develop wave energy in Japan.

++++

The IHS study, Global Ocean Energy Markets and Strategies: 2010-2030, analyzes the various ocean technologies and companies and the potential size and timing for ocean energy scaling.

Source: Sustainable Business

Article source: http://uk.ibtimes.com/articles/20110105/ocean-energy-verge-rapid-growth.htm

Wave energy ‘could create 52000 jobs’

January 5, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Ocean Energy

Wave energy 'could create 52,000 jobs' Nearly 70,000 jobs could be created if Ireland’s ocean energy sector is fully developed and meets the government’s 2020 renewable targets, a new report says.

According to SQW Energy’s Economic Study for Ocean Energy Development in Ireland, which was commissioned by the government’s Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland, wave energy could generate up to 52,000 employment positions, while tidal energy could result in 17,000 jobs, the Irish Times reported.

The all-Ireland ocean energy sector could be worth about EUR9 billion, the report suggests.

An “appropriate level of investment” in the sector could provide “long-term sustainable growth and wealth creation”, it added.

In November last year, An tSl Ghlas - The Green Way, which is composed of green industry firms, third level institutions and local authorities, predicted that Ireland’s green sector will create about 10,000 jobs over the next five years.

An tSl Ghlas, the country’s first green economic zone, is based in Dublin.
ADNFCR-2470-ID-800326089-ADNFCR

First US Commercial Tidal Power Plant Proposed for New York City’s East River

January 3, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Ocean Energy

January 3, 2011

We are extremely excited about the submission of this license application, stated Ron Smith, CEO of Verdant Power. It represents the culmination of nearly a decade of work undertaken by Verdant Power and a variety of project stakeholders to add tidal power to the US clean energy mix.

Entitled the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project, the initiative has been Verdant Powers signature effort to commercialize its Free Flow kinetic hydropower system, which utilizes three-bladed turbines deployed in fast-moving tides and rivers to generate clean energy. During 2006-08, Verdant Power successfully demonstrated a Free Flow System comprised of six full-scale turbines, delivering energy to businesses in New York City with no power quality problems.

Verdant Power would install an advanced, 5th Generation Free Flow System through the proposed pilot project an updated design enhanced for system reliability, cost-effective manufacturing and environmental compatibility. The US Department of Energy (DOE) provided partial funding for this advancement, specifically the design and testing of a new composite turbine blade in partnership with the DOEs National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and the University of Minnesotas St. Anthony Falls Laboratory. Major funding for the development of the RITE Project has been provided by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

The license application has been submitted under FERCs Hydrokinetic Pilot Project Licensing Procedures, established to allow for the advancement of US hydrokinetic technologies (tidal, river, wave power), while maintaining FERC oversight and agency input. The application was prepared by Verdant Power with support from Kleinschmidt Associates and outlines the companys plans to meet FERC requirements for installation and operation, including environmental monitoring and public safeguarding. Verdant Power conducted environmental monitoring of the Free Flow System during the six-turbine demonstration at the RITE Project, developing significant environmental data on the technology that showed no evidence of increased fish injury or mortality in the demonstration area. Verdant Power would continue environmental monitoring plans, developed in conjunction with federal and state resource agencies, during the proposed pilot project to study any impacts of the larger field, which is planned for incremental installation beginning in late 2011, pending approvals.

Verdant Power

Verdant Power was established in 2000 and is headquartered in New York, NY, with international subsidiaries in Canada and the United Kingdom. Verdant Power is a world leader in the design and application of marine renewable energy systems, which utilize underwater turbines to generate clean energy from the currents of tides, rivers and manmade channels all highly predictable energy resources. Simple and modular in design, Verdant Power systems can be scaled to operate in a wide range of water settings worldwide.

Verdant Powers leadership position is demonstrated by its Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project in the East River of New York City. Through this groundbreaking initiative, the Company installed and operated the worlds first array of grid-connected tidal turbines.

Article source: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/partner/ocean-renewable-energy-coalition-4809/news/article/2011/01/first-us-commercial-tidal-power-plant-proposed-for-new-york-citys-east-river