The Leading Edge

Issue 05 and Volume 31.

Nova Scotia calls for increased tidal power output

The Nova Scotia Department of Energy has established a goal of replacing 10% of the province’s power supply with forms of tidal energy by the end of the decade.

That means about 300 MW of power would need to be generated from ocean sources by 2020, according to documents provided by the province.

“The Marine Renewable Energy Strategy will help guide the development of the marine renewable energy sector in the province to ensure it is developed in a safe and sustainable manner,” Department of Energy officials say.

Nova Scotia’s plan relies heavily on consultations conducted by oceanographer Bob Fournier, who was hired by the province this past fall.

Much of the goal hinges on the success of Nova Scotia’s Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy, which is a demonstration project designed to exhibit the feasibility of commercial-scale ocean power production.

Nova Scotia’s minster of energy, Charlie Parker, says the plan will likely be considered by lawmakers next spring.

ORPC seeking grant for river power project in Alaska

Ocean Renewable Power Co. hopes to land a $1.5 million grant to help it test and develop a river power turbine to be used near a remote village in Alaska, according to Forbes magazine.

ORPC wants to install its RivGen generator near the Alaskan village of Igiugig. Currently, the 50 residents rely on diesel generators for power, Forbes reports.

ORPC’s chief executive officer, Chris Sauer, says this would be the company’s first chance to test the RivGen technology. After initial testing in southern Alaska’s Cook Inlet, ORPC plans to disassemble the unit, then install it in the waters of the Kvichak River. The site was chosen because of the river’s brisk current (a steady flow of 5 to 6 knots), relatively ice-free winter conditions and lack of debris, the company says.

ORPC also saw Igiugig as a good site because the village is similar to other river towns throughout the state. “This system will have applications in rivers around the world,” Sauer says.

Later, ORPC would move the unit to the Tanana River, which has the more punishing characteristics of a typical Alaskan River, ORPC says. The turbine’s capacity is estimated to be about 60 kW, ORPC says.

To pay for the project, ORPC applied for grant funding in a program that is funded by state and federal agencies.

Florida Atlantic University moves forward with ocean power project

Florida Atlantic University’s Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center has applied for an offshore lease to test underwater turbines, the university says. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is considering the lease of 17,080 acres off the Florida coast for the ocean energy test project, FAU’s University Press reports.

SNMREC is the first entity in the country to apply for this type of lease, says Susan Skemp, executive director of the university program.

“This is not for commercial electricity, this lease only allows for data collecting and testing,” BOEM meteorologist Angel McCoy says.

Each turbine would have an estimated capacity of about 20 kW and would be installed about 150 feet underwater.

DOE to test wave power technology in Hawaii

The Department of Energy is providing $500,000 to test a wave power project in Hawaii.

Federal funds will be used to help pay for deploying and testing a wave energy device off the shores of Oahu for a year. The test will be used to determine the feasibility of developing technologies to produce electricity from ocean waves. The test will be held at the U.S. Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site near Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay.

Only wave energy conversion buoy-type devices are being considered for funding at this time, DOE says.

The Navy has been testing wave energy technology in the waters off Maine Corps Base Hawaii for about 10 years. The Navy hopes to provide wave-produced energy to the Marine base in 2014. The Navy has supported wave energy conversion research with hopes of assisting the Department of Defense in reaching its goal of producing 25% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

DOE estimates that wave energy available off U.S. shores could, in theory, provide up to 1,170 TWh of electricity. Half of that could possibly provide up to 25% of U.S. electricity needs, earthtechling.com reports.

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