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Aquamarine Power cleared to build 40 MW ocean energy project

Approval from the Scottish government will allow hydrokinetic developer Aquamarine Power to construct what will become the world’s largest fully-permitted ocean energy site. The project is to be located off the northwest coast of Lewis, Scotland, and will be rated at 40 MW peak output when complete.

Aquamarine Power, via its wholly-owned subsidiary, Lewis Wave Power Limited, will begin installing generating units at the site after the necessary grid infrastructure has been placed over the next few years.

The new project will use Aquamarine’s “Oyster 800” wave energy converters, which are now undergoing evaluation at Scotland’s European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney. The units look much like a hinge, with one half anchored to the seabed and the other free to move in the current. The resulting motion is then converted into power.

Ultimately, Aquamarine said, as many as 50 of the Oyster devices could be installed along the Lewis coast.

“This is another significant milestone for Scotland’s wave sector,” said Fergus Ewing, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism. “With 10% of Europe’s wave power potential and 25% of its offshore wind and tidal power potential, the opportunities for Scotland are enormous.”

Israeli wave energy company opens subsidiary in China

Israeli hydrokinetic developer Eco Wave Power and the Chinese government have signed an agreement promoting economic trade and collaboration between the two parties.

The deal, signed in Beijing in May, will see EWP establish a new subsidiary, Eco Wave China (EWC), which will be used to promote EWP’s technologies throughout China. The company said the arrangement will allow for the development of a China-based production facility, with an office, factory space and financial support being offered for two years.

The partnership is not EWP’s first in China. The company announced in November 2012 that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ocean University of China for assistance in developing commercial-scale generating units.

“This is a perfect marriage between our mutual capabilities,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during the most recent signing ceremony. “The Israeli government stands firmly behind cooperation between Israel and Chinese companies and between Israeli research institutes and Chinese research institutes.”

The company said China’s initial investment will be US$815,000 and that it will add another $163,000 of its own.

Eco Wave Power develops EWP wave energy convertors that utilize uniquely shaped buoys to harvest and convert the natural energy of waves into electricity.

Marine energy company Minesto makes Sweden’s “33 List”

Marine energy technology developer Minesto has been recognized as one of Sweden’s hottest young technology companies.

The list of 33 upstart businesses — compiled by technology magazine Ny Teknik and business publication Affarsvarlden — is intended to identify the country’s “next Ericson or SKF,” both of which have roots in Sweden.

Minesto was selected from an initial pool of 284 nominees. The company was recognized in large part for the hydrokinetic innovations represented by its “Deep Green” generating unit. The company describes the Deep Green system as an “underwater kite, comprised of a wing and a turbine that is secured to the seabed with a tether.” The company says the unit then “moves with great speed in an 8-shaped path in the tidal or ocean current,” thus spinning the turbine and generating power.

KGAL wins award for Swansea Bay tidal power design work

Hydrokinetic development group Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay (TLSB) has selected KGAL, a UK-based structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering firm, to provide consultant services for the proposed 250 MW Swansea Bay wave energy project.

The US$380 million project will use tidal swells to power a number of hydro turbines installed in the lagoon’s walls, which, TLSB said, will be “the first of its kind in the world.”

KGAL will provide a design for the project and coordinate all of the Swansea Bay project’s mechanical and electrical works up to the construction phase.

A timeline on TLSB’s website shows the group anticipates submitting an application to the Planning Inspectorate later this year, with a consent decision expected by the end of 2014. Should development go as planned, construction could begin as early as spring 2015, with the project contributing power to the grid in 2017.

Hydrokinetic developer Tidal Lagoon Power Limited is also eyeing Colwyn Bay in north Wales as a prospective site for a new 1 GW ocean power project.

The company ultimately envisions tidal lagoon plants being built along the entire coastline. Each of these lagoons would consist of a ring-like harbor structure, with walls dotted with bi-directional tidal turbines. Tides passing in and out of the turbines would be used to generate power.

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