New Hydro

OPT, Lockheed Martin to develop wave energy project in Australia

Ocean Power Technologies and Lockheed Martin have entered into an agreement to develop a 19 MW wave energy project in Victoria, Australia. This is one of the largest wave-energy projects announced to date and will be funded in part by a grant from the Australian government.

Lockheed Martin will assist with the design of OPT’s PowerBuoy technology, lead the production and system integration of the wave energy converters and support overall program management. Lockheed Martin and OPT have been collaborating since 2004, first on the development of an Advanced Deployable System for the U.S. Navy and most recently to design and launch utility-scale wave energy converters off the coast of Reedsport, Oregon, USA.

“Lockheed Martin is applying its expertise to commercialize promising, emerging alternative energy technologies,” says Dan Heller, vice president of new ventures for Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Sensors business. “We see great potential in harnessing the vast power of the ocean. By working with OPT and Australian industry on this project, we will advance wave energy in Australia and globally.”

According to the World Energy Council, wave energy has the potential to produce about 2,000 TWh of electricity a year, or enough power to meet 10% of the world’s current energy needs. In Australia, which has very attractive wave resources, this percentage could be significantly higher.

Charles F. Dunleavy, chief executive officer of OPT, says, “Lockheed Martin’s commitment to alternative energy and its engineering, production, and systems integration expertise will provide momentum to our Australia initiatives, where both companies see great potential for large-scale wave energy generation. We also appreciate the Commonwealth government’s continued support of this project, which we expect to create a significant number of local jobs as we develop and maintain operations over the life of the power station.”

Funding for the project, which is to be located off the coast of Portland, Victoria, also includes a previously announced grant of US$65.3 million from Australia’s Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism. A funding deed sets out the terms of the grant, including the requirement to obtain significant additional project financing.

The project is to be developed by a special purpose Australian company, Victorian Wave Partners Pty Ltd., currently owned by OPT. The partners are assessing financing opportunities for the wave energy project and pursuing power purchase agreements with local industry and utilities.

Brazil wave power prototype generates first energy

Brazil’s electricity regulator announced the first generation of ocean wave energy in Brazil from a prototype unit installed at the port of Pecem in San Goncalo do Amarante, Ceara State.

Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica says the 50 kW unit generated power for 10 minutes on June 24, providing sufficient electricity to power lights and air conditioning of the test center. Trials are to continue in order to generate power for a longer period.

The research project, for deployment of an onshore wave converter prototype off northeastern Brazil, is to last 36 months with a budget of US$7.1 million.

The sponsoring company for the project, Tractebel Energia S.A., is working with the University of Rio de Janeiro’s foundation for project coordination, research and technical studies, Fundacao Coordenacao de Projetos, Pesquisas e Estudos Tecnologicos.

The prototype is two modules consisting of a float, arm and pump that are fixed to a breakwater and linked to a turbine-generator unit and hyperbaric chamber. ANEEL said its advantages include ease of production and easy coupling to a desalination system to produce potable water.

ANEEL said the Brazilian coast presents good conditions for energy production due to its proximity to high-density coastal populations. It is estimated wave energy off the Brazilian coast has the potential to provide a total capacity of 87 GW.

The University of Rio de Janeiro also studied a pilot tidal power plant at Bacanga Dam in Sao Luis in northern Brazil that would involve installation of an intake system and turbine-generators to harness tidal flows between the ocean and Bacanga Reservoir.

Eco Wave Power completes first round of live testing in Black Sea

Hydrokinetic energy company Eco Wave Power recently installed medium-scale versions of its Wave Clapper and Power Wing generating units in the Black Sea.

Each unit features a differently shaped floater head, which is attached via a hinge-like structure to the end of a static platform. The floating head causes the arm to rise and fall based on wave motion, thus creating the movement needed for power generation.

The tests were used to determine how the units would fare in real-world conditions. “All floaters have proved their workability,” says Eco Wave Power founder David Leb. “According to the results of the tests, we have reached a decision to recommend enlarging the model to greater sizes.”

The Wave Clapper and Power Wing generating units recently were installed in the Black Sea, where each was tested to determine how it would fare in real-world conditions.
The Wave Clapper and Power Wing generating units recently were installed in the Black Sea, where each was tested to determine how it would fare in real-world conditions.

Leb says the next step is moving the medium-scale test plant to a different coastal structure to demonstrate its versatility, after which the company plans to build its first commercial-scale units.

Cyprus exploring hydrokinetic potential with university study

A study being conducted by the Oceanographic Centre at the University of Cyprus is causing officials to consider the potential of hydrokinetic production, has learned.

The E-Wave project, which began in January 2011, is a 24-month study designed to create a high-resolution digital atlas of Cyprus’ coastal and offshore areas in which wave energy could be produced. Using this data, the country says it hopes to create models for predicting and quantifying hydrokinetic potential.

“Given the urgent needs for monitoring and exploiting renewable energy sources, the wave energy potential for an island state such as Cyprus, we hope to open new promising avenues,” says Minister of Agriculture, Sofoclis Aletraris.

Aletraris says the island republic could become a catalyst in developing hydrokinetic energy in Mediterranean countries and that the consolidation of marine data is essential for growing hydrokinetic output.

The E-Wave project is funded by the Research Promotion Foundation and EU.

GDF Suez announces plans for two hydrokinetic turbine testing sites

European utility GDF Suez is exploring the feasibility of developing commercial-scale hydrokinetic generating plants by establishing two testing sites off the coast of France.

GDF Suez says the sites it is considering are Raz Blanchard in Lower Normandy and the Passage du Fromveur off the Finistere coast in Brittany. These sites contain 80% of France’s total tidal energy potential, according to the Paris-based company.

GDF Suez and its subsidiary Eole Generation will first install up to six of Voith Hydro’s HyTide hydrokinetic turbines at Raz Blanchard by 2015. These units will provide up to 12 MW of capacity and will be used to establish the technology’s technical and economic viability. Ultimately, GDF Suez says it hopes to build a plant with about 100 turbines at the site.

The company also hopes to establish a second test site at the Passage du Fromveur by 2016. Eole and tidal power engineering firm Sabella have signed an agreement that gives GDF Suez access to Sabella’s D10 marine turbine prototype.

GDF Suez is France’s second largest hydropower producer with 3,800 MW of capacity.

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