Posts Tagged ‘Ocean Energy’
Energy Department Announces $13 Million to Advance Ocean Energy Technologies and Launches New Video on Water PowerTuesday, April 30th, 2013
The Energy Department announced today up to $13 million in funding to develop and test advanced components and technologies to boost the performance of marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) energy systems. The Department plans to select up to 10 awards aimed at developing advanced controls, power systems, and device structures specifically for MHK applications, which harness energy from waves, tides, or currents.
In the United States, waves and tides represent a largely untapped renewable energy resource that could provide clean, affordable energy to homes and businesses across the country’s coastal regions. The Energy Department estimates that U.S. wave and tidal resources could generate approximately 1,420 terawatt hours (TWh) annually, about one-third of the United States’ total annual electricity usage. Today, the Energy Department launched a new Energy 101 video on a range of innovative MHK technologies and the Department’s research and development efforts to improve performance and lower costs. Additional information on these efforts is available through Open Energy Information’s new Water Power Gateway.
Through the new funding opportunity announced today, the Energy Department intends to support projects that increase the power-to-weight ratio of MHK devices or improve system reliability through investment in the following component technologies:
Advanced Controls (up to 6 awards; $500,000-$2 million each): Selected projects will develop advanced control systems, including software or hardware, and perform numerical modeling or testing to assess performance improvements. These types of controls offer opportunities to optimize energy capture and system load, which can increase output and system reliability.
Next-Generation Power Take-Offs (up to 2 awards; $3 million each): Through the development of lighter, more compact and more efficient “power take-offs” (PTOs)—the MHK sub-system that includes the hardware needed to convert mechanical motion into electrical power—the selected projects will increase system and component reliability and modularity to make PTOs longer-lasting and easier to repair.
Optimized Structures (up to 2 awards; $1 million each): Selected projects will develop and test an advanced device structure that minimizes the loads transmitted to other components and increases the device’s ability to withstand extreme conditions.
Applicants are requested to submit a letter of intent by May 13, 2013. Read the full solicitation on the Financial Opportunities web page.
Oregon lawmakers don’t want the state to get stuck with the bill if a wave-energy company installs equipment off shore and then goes belly up.
The Senate voted Monday to require that companies experimenting with wave energy in Oregon’s territorial waters show they have enough money to recover their equipment when they’re done with it. They’d be required to remove equipment two years after it’s no-longer needed.
Democratic Sen. Arnie Roblan of Coos Bay says one company lost a buoy anchor and paid the cost of an expensive search and recovery. Roblan says he doesn’t want the state to be on the hook for cleanup costs if other wind-energy equipment goes awry.
The restriction applies only to wave energy projects within three miles of the Oregon coast.
For the first time in recent history, South Coast fisherman are on board with an offshore industrial project.
Nick Edwards, a representative of the Southern Oregon Ocean Resource Coalition, said the organization supports Principle Power’s plans for a 30-megawatt wind energy flotilla off the South Coast.
“It’s better to work with these people and be part of the process,” Edwards said. The commissioner said fisherman needed six months to reach agreement among themselves.
“It’s still not going to make a bunch of people happy,” he said.
The company plans to anchor its proposed wind farm beyond the three-mile limit, outside of state jurisdiction and under federal law. The wind energy platforms would be anchored in about 1,000 feet of water.
The placement would help avoid conflict with the South Coast’s commercial fishing fleet.
The company received a $4 million grant from the Department of Energy in March. The initial grant could expand to as much as $47 million. Kevin Banister, vice president of business and government affairs, said the project is one of seven wind technology demonstrations selected by the Energy Department.
Of the seven, Principle’s is the only West Coast proposal. The agency plans to narrow the list to three projects after the initial planning and test phase.
The company intends to moor five 6-megawatt wind turbines off the Oregon Coast. Banister said the turbine blades would be installed in Coos Bay, and the platforms would be launched from the North Spit.
The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay is partnering with the wind power company on the project.
The port originally entered into negotiations with the Principle Power in March 2012 in an attempt to compete for the Energy Department grant. The port has named the endeavor Project Effectuate.
Banister said the wind power project dovetails with proposed construction of a liquefied natural gas export terminal on Coos Bay’s North Spit.
“This project happens on almost exactly the same timeline as Jordan Cove,” Banister said.
Banister said the wind project would benefit from infrastructure provided by Jordan Cove Energy Project. But Principle could move forward without the LNG terminal.
“Plan A is Jordan Cove,” Banister said. “Plan B is not so good. Plan B is harder.”
The political news website The Hill reported Thursday that the Energy Department expects to begin deciding on LNG export applications “very soon.”
Banister said Principle Power wants the community to support the project and plans public meetings next month.
By Julia Pyper
In meeting America’s energy needs, the marine hydrokinetic industry could be the wave of the future.
Harnessing tides, currents and waves produces clean, domestically sourced power that could generate up to one-third of the United States’ total electricity usage, according to Department of Energy. It’s also an industry growing on U.S. shores and bringing jobs to remote areas.
“I think this is the energy of the future for us in so many different ways,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said yesterday at the annual Global Marine Renewable Energy Conference in Washington, D.C.
The Ocean Renewable Power Co. (ORPC) launched the first grid-connected marine hydrokinetic project in the Western Hemisphere late last year at Cobscook Bay in Maine. The 150-kilowatt TidGen device captures energy from tidal currents and delivers it to shore via underwater power cable.
In January, the company generated its first renewable energy credit. By early next year, it plans to put two more 150 kW TidGen devices in the water.
But perhaps the biggest achievement is that ORPC’s first comprehensive environmental reviewreleased yesterday found that the installation — which looks like a giant push mower — had no detrimental effects on the surrounding environment.
“We now have all the science … there are no observed negative interactions between our TidGen power system and the marine environment,” said Christopher Sauer, president and CEO of ORPC. “There is actually nothing that’s been observed to have an adverse impact. I think that’s huge.”
Maze of regulatory hoops
“You’ve proven you do have an environmental effect,” said Sean O’Neill, president of the Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition, at yesterday’s symposium. “That’s no SOx [sulfur oxides], no NOx [nitrogen oxides], no carbon, no mercury, no emissions — it’s emissions-free.”
“It’s also not a sushi maker, which is the result of this study,” he said.
The findings represent a landmark moment for the marine renewable industry as a whole. With no precedent to follow, getting approval for marine hydrokinetic projects of all types has required jumping through a seemingly endless number of regulatory hoops, which delays implementation and drives up costs, say supporters.
Most ocean power projects currently have to get separate approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Coast Guard, possibly the Navy and several other agencies before entering the water. In some cases, companies have been asked to provide environmental research that simply doesn’t exist yet.
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) expressed concern at yesterday’s symposium that the existing regulatory process could kill the industry before it really begins.
“I sincerely hope we’re going to find a way to develop ocean energy where the federal government can be a partner in this incredibly important resource and not an obstacle that raises the cost of entry to where it becomes unfeasible,” he said.
A budgetary nod
Like ORPC, other companies are progressing, too. Verdant Power was actually the first company to receive a commercial license from FERC for its 1-megawatt tidal project in New York City’s East River. The company is now on track to put its first turbines in the water in 2014 and complete installation by 2015.
This spring, New Jersey-based Ocean Power Technologies is preparing to deploy its wave energy device off the coast of Oregon. Columbia Power Technologies will soon begin testing a new, more efficient wave energy product, and Northwest Energy Innovations will start testing its wave energy device at a Navy test site in Hawaii.
All of these projects have received varying levels of financial and technological support from the Department of Energy.
The water power sector, which includes both marine hydrokinetic and conventional hydro, is currently operating on about $56 million in government funding, which includes a 5 percent budget cut from the sequester, according to Jose Zayas, DOE’s wind and water power program manager. Marine hydrokinetic energy receives about two-thirds of DOE’s dedicated water power funding.
In the Obama administration’s new 2014 budget request, the president proposed to boost funding for the renewable water power portfolio to $55 million. The budget request for fiscal 2013 was $20 million.
“What we have done successfully is really shifted the trend, and that is incredibly difficult, especially in the fiscal environment that we’re in,” Zayas said.
“I think it’s just a recognition that this administration is really behind renewable energies, and in this particular case, water power technologies,” he added.
Under the president’s proposed budget, actual funding levels for the marine energy industry would essentially stay flat through next year. That is not the increase industry supporters were hoping for, but it is still 88 percent higher than funding levels three years ago, said Murkowski, who has been a strong advocate for marine energy projects off the coast of Alaska.
Even during these rough financial times, she said, she expects Congress will soon pass legislation to support renewable marine energy.
“I really do think you’ll see Congress pass bipartisan legislation to advance marine hydrokinetic research that the president will sign into law. And I don’t usually make predictions about what may happen with legislation going forward, because it’s just such a sketchy world up there on the Hill right now,” she said. “But I’m feeling good about it.”
Murkowski said that she and Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have already started to craft legislation that would reinforce marine energy testing centers and streamline project approval. But the bill has stalled, since lawmakers haven’t yet found a way to offset the cost.
“We’re looking under rocks,” Murkowski said.
Renewable energy technology developer, Principle Power – awarded a Department of Energy grant worth $4M and up to $47M in total funding to support its WindFloat Pacific Demonstration Project. – has announced its list of official project partners.
The list of partners for the WindFloat Pacific Demonstration Project include: Siemens Wind Power, MacArtney Underwater Technology, Houston Offshore Engineering the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, RPS Evan Hamilton, Forristal Ocean Engineering, the American Bureau of Shipping and Det Norske Veritas.
The WindFloat Pacific Demonstration Project is centred around a 30MW floating offshore wind farm, planned to be located approximately 25 kilometres west of Oregon’s Port of Coos Bay. Based on a patented floating foundation for offshore wind turbines, the features of the WindFloat allow turbines to be placed at deep water locations, out-of-sight from shore where the wind is stronger and more consistent.
The WindFloat offers “considerable economical advantages” over traditional offshore wind solutions, the firm says, since the entire turbine and floating foundation is built and assembled on shore, and installed using conventional tug vessels. This way, the WindFloat is also a “more cost-effective, simpler and less risky approach to offshore wind development”.
A prototype has been operating successfully off the coast of Portugal since October 2011. This installation marks the first multi-megawatt offshore wind turbine to be installed without the use of any heavy lift offshore vessels.
According to Alla Weinstein, CEO of Principle Power, “the WindFloat eliminates many installation and environmental risks, while offering access to more robust wind resources, resulting in a reduction in the cost of energy”.
A more elaborate scope of work for the Principle Power project, as well as the scope of involvement by the project partners, will be finalised in the coming months.
By Peter Huhtala
The Orkney Islands enjoy a spectacular setting off the northern tip of Scotland.
History here runs deep and mystical. The land is fertile and marine life is abundant.
The climate has been called relatively mild, though I suppose that relative is the
operative word. Of the 70 or so islands, 20 are inhabited with a total of about
In recent decades the world has awakened to significant problems with relying
upon fossil fuels for energy production. The fuels themselves are finite. Their
sources are often unpredictable. And use of these fuels is loading the atmosphere
with carbon, spurring planetary climate change.
Cumbersome politics and quaint challenges to the reality of global warming have
slowed the United States’ response to this environmental crisis of our age. Shortterm
economic needs and job creation are priorities that demand precedence over
saving the world. How could we have it both ways?
The European Union in general has been much more nimble than the US in
embracing the need for renewable energy infrastructure – from the solar revolution
in Germany to the marine wind farms off of Denmark and The Netherlands to wave
energy production off of Norway and Spain.
Rising costs of increasing imports of fossil fuels, and the long‐term prospect of the
economic devastation of climate change, inspired the United Kingdom to commit to
substantial development of renewable energy sources – including wave and tidal.
Nearly ten years ago the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) was established in
the Orkney Islands. Today EMEC boasts 14 berths where developers from around
the world can arrange full‐scale grid‐connected tests of their wave and tidal energy
production technology. This high‐tech facility is situated in the path of strong and
steady waves and predictable tides.
EMEC’s unique services have fostered steady growth. Speaking in December 2012
their managing director Neil Kermode looked forward to EMEC’s tenth year:
“Job creation was one of the driving forces behind the original EMEC vision. With
250 people now employed in the sector in Orkney and the local supply chain
continuing to expand, it’s clear that marine renewables is becoming an increasingly
valuable element of the local economy.”
Interesting. It seems that we’ve found an example of the elusive nexus of
environmental stewardship and economic development. Could this be duplicated?
Energy Department Launches New Database to Support Sustainable Development of Ocean Energy ResourcesFriday, February 8th, 2013
As part of an international collaboration with the International Energy Agency, the Energy Department today launched a new database that includes results of environmental monitoring and research efforts on wave, tidal, and current energy development worldwide. Called “Tethys,” after the Greek titaness of the ocean, the database will help industry regulators and energy project developers deploy sustainable ocean energy projects in an environmentally responsible manner.
Developed through a partnership with the International Energy Agency’s Ocean Energy Systems initiative (OES), the Tethys database and an accompanying report identify research on potential environmental effects and monitoring methods for ocean power. The database and report also provide the emerging global ocean energy industry with real-world data—documenting interactions between wave, tidal, and current devices, marine wildlife, and oceans’ physical systems—that will help safely explore and expand the use of clean, renewable energy sources like ocean power.
The Tethys database also features an interactive map of ocean energy environmental monitoring and research projects around the world to aid developers and regulatory agencies in siting and permitting future projects. The Energy Department encourages researchers in this area to submit their work to the database to further expand and improve this valuable resource.
The report was compiled by Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, in partnership with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Partner nations in the Ocean Energy Systems initiative, including Canada, Ireland, Spain, Norway, New Zealand, and South Korea, also provided funding and substantial input to this effort.
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Learn more about DOE’s efforts to support the responsible deployment of wave, tidal and current energy technologies.
The state of Oregon has adopted new zoning rules that set aside about 2 percent of the Oregon coast for wave and offshore wind energy.
The new rules identify where wave and off-shore wind energy projects should go. The goal: to select locations for these projects where they would be least likely to conflict with surfers, commercial fisherman, and wildlife.
But not everyone’s happy with the four sites the state approved for wave energy. Two of them are near Reedsport on Oregon’s south Coast.
“You couldn’t find a worse place to put a wave energy facility as far as an impact to fisheries on the coast,” said Nick Furman with the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission. Furman said the Reedsport sites are in prime crab fishing territory. The other two sites are off Oregon’s north coast near Astoria and Neskowin.
State officials say fishermen will only be kept out of the development zones if wave energy buoys are actually built and anchored there. That could be years, or decades away.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber issued a statement Friday praising the choices made by Oregon’s Land Conservation and Development Commission.
“This balanced proposal shows Oregon can thoughtfully support this emerging and promising industry while protecting our coastal communities’ quality of life, our commercial and recreational fisheries, and a coastline that all Oregonians treasure,” Kitzhaber said.
According to Kitzhaber’s office, Oregon has spent more than $10 million on the Oregon Wave Energy Trust. It is charged with paying for research and other projects to accelerate the development of wave power in Oregon.
The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Oregon State University deployed the first wave energy test system in the United States off Newport. Earlier this month the center announced it will site a larger, grid-connected testing facility in federal waters off Newport.
This spring, Ocean Power Technologies plans to deploy the first federally-licensed commercial wave energy device off Reedsport.
Wave energy backers in Oregon – who hope to see the state become the center for the technology’s development in the United States – were celebrating on Friday, a day after the state’s Land Conservation and Development Commission voted to adopt a territorial sea plan that includes four areas where energy development will be encouraged.
The plan was accepted after several years of consultations involving stakeholders, including fishing interests who were particularly sensitive to the possibility of energy development in the territorial sea, defined as the waters and seabed extending three miles out from the coastline.
Wave energy converter tested off Oregon coast, September 2012 (image via Pete Danko/EarthTechling)
“OWET believes the Territorial Sea Plan is a great step forward for Oregon,” Busch said in a statement. “It strikes the correct balance between promoting the nascent ocean renewable energy industry and protecting the ocean and its users. Additionally, it provides a clear regulatory pathway for developers, and provides adequate space to support multiple technologies in areas specifically intended for wave energy development.”The plan adopted for siting ocean energy development in Oregon waters is akin to the federal government’s recently adopted policy for large-scale solar projects in the desert Southwest: except for some exclusion areas, developers can propose sites wherever they like, but outside the four preferred areas they will have to meet more stringent standards for protecting ecological resources, fishing and other existing uses, and coastal views.
Oregon is home to the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, based at Oregon State University. Last fall, the NNMREC deployed the Ocean Sentinel, a small-scale ocean test buoy platform. Then earlier this month the cener announced it had selected Newport, Ore., as the site of the Pacific Marine Energy Center, the country’s first utility-scale, grid-connected test site.
The Department of Energy last September seeded the effort to build the PMEC with a $4 million grant, to be matched by outside funds. More funding will be needed over the course of the several years needed to complete the PMEC, but regional leaders are driving hard to make it a reality.
In addition, this spring, Ocean Power Technologies says it will deploy its commercial, utility-scale PowerBuoy wave energy device two and a half miles off the coast near the town. OPT, based in New Jersey, is the first company to be fully licensed to run a grid-connected wave power array in the United States.