The Leading Edge

Issue 7 and Volume 26.

Finavera deploys prototype wave unit in Oregon  

Finavera Renewables Inc. has deployed and commissioned its AquaBuOY wave energy converter off the coast of Newport, Ore. The wave energy developer said the achievement moves it closer to its goal of commercial generation from ocean waves by 2010.

Oregon Iron Works in Portland, Ore., fabricated the AquaBuOY 2.0 wave energy converter. The test unit is not designated for a specific power project. However, test results will be used to design equipment for Finavera’s proposed 1-MW Makah Bay Offshore Wave Energy pilot project in Washington.

Finavera will analyze the performance of the test unit, deployed about 2.5 miles off Oregon’s coast. The company will monitor output of its hose pump technology and other components to determine generating potential. All on-board diagnostic equipment will be powered by the device itself, with solar panels and small wind turbines providing secondary power.

Finavera said it is planning to develop wave energy projects totaling more than 250 MW off the west coast of North America.

Maine corporation to develop tidal device evaluation center

Maine Maritime Academy and its partners, through a non-profit corporation, are working to develop a Tidal Energy Device Evaluation Center. The corporation’s goal is to establish a testing center for marine renewable energy devices, with an emphasis on tidal energy devices. Partners in this project include CIANBRO, Marinus Power, and OceanWorks International.

The center – which will be located on the campus of Maine Maritime Academy in Castine – will:

– Involve faculty and undergraduate and graduate students in applied research;

– Foster better understanding of the Bagaduce watershed (Bagaduce River empties into the Penobscot Bay at Castine);

– Facilitate the development of commercially viable and environmentally responsible renewable energy; and

– Leverage an innovative partnership with private industry.

In February 2007, Maine Maritime Academy submitted an application for a preliminary permit to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The application covered the planning, construction, and operation of the proposed center.

Once this preliminary permit is granted, the operating corporation plans to fund the center through grants. When the center is fully licensed and operational, the corporation plans to charge device developers a testing fee.

Ocean Power to equip Oregon’s 50-MW Reedsport wave project  

Ocean Power Technologies Inc. (OPT) is manufacturing and installing the first PowerBuoy wave energy system at the 50-MW Reedsport OPT Wave Park off the coast of Oregon. The company received a $500,000 contract for the work.

PNGC Power, which is developing the project with OPT, will provide the funding to the company to fabricate, install, and deploy a 150-kW non-grid-connected PB150 PowerBuoy. Once deployed, system performance will be evaluated.

The effort is the first phase of OPT’s project to install its PowerBuoy systems, which initially are expected to generate a total of 2 MW at a site 2.5 miles off the coast of Reedsport, Ore. Major components are to be manufactured in Oregon.

OPT holds a preliminary permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to study the feasibility of developing the Reedsport OPT Wave Park. OPT plans to develop and operate the initial 2-MW grid-connected wave power park.

PNGC Power, an electric cooperative based in Portland, Ore., serves 15 distribution cooperatives with service territory in seven states. In addition to the agreement for the first PowerBuoy, PNGC Power plans to support OPT in the permitting process and with on-shore power transmission.

An agreement previously signed by OPT and PNGC provides a framework under which the two parties can work together for phased scale-up to a 50-MW wave power park.

Canada province approves study of 5-MW Ucluelet wave project

Finavera Renewables Inc. is moving forward with development of its 5-MW Ucluelet wave energy project, proposed for a site off the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

In August 2007, the company received an investigative use permit for the project from the B.C. government. The permit grants Finavera the right to conduct resource and environmental studies for two years to determine project feasibility.

Finavera said Ucluelet has the potential to become the first offshore wave energy project in Canada. The project would feature clusters of the company’s AquaBuOy wave energy converters. It could have an initial generating capacity of 5 MW, with expansion to 100 MW.

Finavera said the project might be eligible for “flow through” tax incentives from Canada’s federal government. The incentives were included in the federal budget adopted earlier this year.

The company is an Ireland-based energy business involved in global development of ocean wave projects.

Oregon State developing wave energy testing device

Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) are developing a Wave Energy Linear Test Bed. This device will be used to research, test, evaluate, and advance wave energy conversion devices.

The test bed is designed to generate the relative linear motion created by ocean waves, says Annette von Jouanne, PhD, P.E., professor of power electronics/energy systems at the university. Actual wave data will be used to program the test bed to reproduce wave conditions in the lab. The goals include determining the actual power output capabilities of various wave energy technologies over different periods of the day and year.

The test bed is being built in OSU’s The Wallace Energy Systems & Renewables Facility. Construction was to begin in October 2007.

Oregon State University received a $65,000 Blue Sky Fund Award to develop the wave energy linear test bed. The fund, supported by two operating units of PacifiCorp, is intended to provide financial assistance to renewable energy technologies, including low-impact hydropower, wave, wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal projects.

IEEE releases book on using tides to produce electricity

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. announces availability of a new book, Elements of Tidal-Electric Engineering. Robert H. Clark, a Canadian consultant who has spearheaded several research projects and consulted with governments and private industries around the world on tidal-electric issues, is the author.

The 280-page book focuses on performing a feasibility study for a proposed tidal power development. Areas covered include:

    – Factors to consider in selecting a site for preliminary assessment;
    – Tidal power schemes and modes of operation;
    – Use of hydraulic and numerical models in feasibility investigations;
    – Civil works required for tidal power development and associated tidal generating equipment;
    – Procedures to optimize output from the tidal plant;
    – Economic evaluation and risk assessment; and
    – Environmental effects of proposed construction and operation.

The book also contains an examination of commercially operating plants in Canada, China, France, and Russia. In addition, the book provides a brief review of potential developments in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Korea, Mexico, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

– To purchase this book for US$130, visit the Internet: www.wiley.com/ WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-047010709X.html.