Utility to Develop Wave Power on West Coast

The provincial utility on Canada’s west coast wants to develop 20 megawatts of green energy, including a demonstration project in wave energy technology.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, CA, 2001-11-26 [SolarAccess.com] BC Hydro is reviewing submissions for a Request for Proposals it issued this summer, calling for the development of green energy on Vancouver Island. In addition to wave power, projects will include demonstrations in wind and micro-hydro technologies. In March, the utility created a Green & Alternative Energy Division, with a mandate to screen and evaluate viable, near-term supply from proven small hydro and woodwaste technologies, and to evaluate and support development of wind, wave, micro-hydro, community energy planning and emerging biomass technologies which, if viable, could be included in the future energy portfolio. BC Hydro recently conducted study on the potential for green energy on Vancouver Island, where it wants to develop an Ocean Wave Energy Demonstration Project to assess the resource potential, construction methods, environmental and social issues, cost of energy, energy pricing and customer demand. The Ocean Wave component of the demonstration project will have a capacity of 4 MW and the project likely will comprise two separate technologies, according to the RFP. “The scale of the project is intended to be appropriate to test the use of ocean waves as a resource for electrical energy and its application in the ocean environment,” it explains. Four megawatts is a size that is “capable of making some impact on new generation requirements, while limiting exposure to risk for BC Hydro.” Although the costs of a 4 MW demonstration project will be higher than larger wave energy facilities, it will provide an opportunity for the utility to evaluate longer-term financial and non-financial benefits. That information will help BC Hydro to make decisions regarding cost recovery options, as well as determining future investment potential. “A demonstration project will effectively signal to various stakeholders that BC Hydro is serious about exploring green energy resources,” it explains. “Through our experience with the demonstration project, we will gain a better understanding of the trade-offs involved in the development of these green resources and how they can contribute to future generation decisions.” “The data gathered during development of the 4 MW Ocean Wave Project would also support BC Hydro’s investigation into domestic markets for green energy,” it notes. “The information gathered from the Project will help to define the green energy resource potential for BC Hydro’s electricity planning process and consultations on future generation options.” The project would be sited at one of two locations on Vancouver Island that have been assessed by BC Hydro.

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