Hydropower, Wind Power

New Hydro

Issue 1 and Volume 16.

IEC committee to craft technology standards

The International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) Technical Committee on Marine Energy-Wave and Tidal Energy Converters is developing international standards for wave and tidal energy technology.

These standards are intended to support efforts by the International Energy Agency to recommend best practices for the effective networking and integration of electricity from wave and tidal energy devices.

Standards to be developed by the committee will cover:

  • Performance of tidal and wave energy converters;
  • How these converters will plug into electricity grid systems; and
  • How to test these converters.

The committee plans to begin developing these standards in mid-2008.

The committee consists of 13 participating members and five observing members. Committee chair is Melanie Nadeau of the CANMET Energy Technology Centre in Ottawa, Canada; secretary is Danny Peacock of the British Electrotechnical Committee in London, United Kingdom.

Belgium studying wave energy on Continental Shelf

The Flemish government and European electricity producer Electrabel are funding a study of the possibilities for electricity generation using wave energy on the Continental Shelf in Belgium.

Scientists with Ghent University are performing the research, which is expected to cost about 500,000 euros (US$730,000). Work began in mid-2005; results are expected to be available in 2009.

As part of this study, researchers also are investigating the possibility of using the Continental Shelf for other purposes, such as offshore wind and tidal energy.

Wave converter to betested in Denmark

Wave Star Energy, a wave energy technology developer in Denmark, is working toward installing a 500-kw Wave Star generating unit in the North Sea in Denmark. The company is designing the unit and plans to begin testing it in 2008.

The Wave Star unit is comprised of 40 floats attached to a structure that sits on four columns anchored in the seabed. The floats sit on the surface of the water and work like a piston engine. When waves pass the unit, the rising and falling of the floats pumps water to a hydraulic motor attached to a generator, to produce electricity.

Using results of testing of the 500-kw unit, Wave Star Energy plans to scale the converter up to 6 mw.

Wave converter to use superconductor generator  

Ocean Power Technologies Inc. (OPT) and Converteam Ltd. are developing high-temperature superconductor (HTS) linear generators for use in OPT PowerBuoy wave energy converters.

The companies plan to develop the technology jointly on an exclusive basis for at least five years. The parties also will investigate commercial opportunities and potential customers for HTS linear generator PowerBuoys.

OPT, based in Pennington, New Jersey, United States, is a wave energy technology and project developer with PowerBuoy projects in Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. OPT is working to deploy wave energy units off the shore of the U.S. Marine base at Kaneohe Bay on Oahu, Hawaii.

Converteam, formerly Alstom Power Conversion, specializes in the development, design, and supply of electrical motors and generators, power converters, and cryogenic systems. The company, based in the United Kingdom, previously was named to build the world’s first high- temperature superconductor hydropower generator for installation at the 3.9-mw Hirschaid plant in Germany.

Linear HTS generators could deliver significant reductions in the cost of wave-generated electricity, OPT Chief Executive Officer George Taylor said. The system should offer improved efficiency, reliability, and require less maintenance than linear permanent magnetic-based systems, the companies said.

Briefly …

Wave energy developer Oceanlinx Ltd. is developing a 1.5-mw wave energy project off the coast of Namibia, using its Oscillating Water Column technology.