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Mutriku wave plant inaugurated in Spain

Spain-based utility Ente Vasco de la Energia has inaugurated the Mutriku wave power plant, located between Bilbao and San Sebastian.

Voith Hydro supplied the equipment for the 300 kW project’s 16 units, which employ Voith Hydro’s OWC (oscillating water column) technology. The company claims this is the first wave power plant worldwide in commercial operation.

Hyundai completes tidal system trial in Korea

Hyundai Heavy Industries has completed the site trial of a prototype 500 kW tidal current power system at Uldolmok Passage in Jeollanam-do, southwest Korea, wire services report.

The prototype system directly connects a tidal turbine, gearbox and generator for power transmission.

The system can operate regardless of current direction using a specially designed turbine system, the company says. After completing factory and basin tests last year, the company produced target power generation from site trials this May, it adds.

Based on the data collected from the trials, Hyundai says it plans to pursue tidal current power farm projects by scaling up generators.

Aquamarine Power unveils next-generation Oyster device

Scottish marine energy developer Aquamarine Power has announced the launch of its Oyster 800, the firm’s next-generation wave energy converter.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond unveiled the 800 kW device at a ceremony at Burntisland Fabrications’ yard at Methil, Fife. From there, the unit will be transported by sea from the Firth of Forth to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney for installation later this summer.

Aquamarine Power installed and grid-connected its first full-scale 315 kW Oyster device at EMEC in 2009. This device operated through two winters and delivered more than 6,000 operating hours.

The Oyster 800 operates in the same way as Oyster 1, but Aquamarine Power has used data and lessons learned from the first machine to significantly improve its power output, simplify installation and allow easier routine maintenance, the company says.

The device shape has been modified and made wider to enable it to capture more wave energy. It is now also mounted on two seabed piles, rather than four, to simplify installation.

Two more Oyster devices will be installed at EMEC, one in 2012 and the other in 2013. All three Oyster units will be linked to an onshore hydroelectric plant to form a 2.4 MW array.

The project has been supported through grant funding awarded by Scottish Enterprise and the Carbon Trust Marine Renewables Proving Fund.

In related news, several Scottish wave energy projects, including a 30 MW development from Aquamarine Power north of the Isle of Lewis, were given the go-ahead in May.

Aquamarine Power has secured leases from the Crown Estate to deploy 30 MW of its Oyster wave energy converters off North West Lewis and a separate 10 MW demonstration lease for an area between Siadar and Fivepenny, known as the Galson site.

Vattenfall and Pelamis also confirm that they have been awarded a lease agreement to take forward the 10 MW Aeigir wave farm off the coast of Shetland.

The two Aquamarine Power developments could see up to 40 Oyster near-shore devices installed along a 2 km stretch of coastline.

Aquamarine Power will compete with Pelamis Wave Power and Scottish Power Renewables for the Scottish Government’s Saltire Prize, which will reward a commercially-viable marine energy device that can generate at least 100 GWh over a two-year period. The three projects need to secure planning consent before proceeding.

Scotland has 17 wave and tidal projects leased for development in its waters, not including the test facilities at EMEC.

Wave monitoring buoy deployed off Bermuda

Carnegie Wave Energy of Australia and Triton Renewable Energy of Bermuda have deployed a wave monitoring buoy off the South Shore of Bermuda.

This buoy, deployed in April 2011, will capture information about the feasibility of wave power in Bermuda. The buoy will track data for a year.

Carnegie and Triton signed a memorandum of understanding in 2008 to develop a wave energy project. The project would use CETO technology, which consists of a buoy that uses the vertical motion of ocean waves to draw water into pumps and force the water at high pressure through a shore-based turbine.

The companies say the pilot facility would have a capacity of 2 MW and could be expanded to as much as 20 MW.

UK announces funding boost for marine power ventures

UK marine power projects looking to scale up could benefit from £20 million (US$32 million) of funding, the government announces.

The money is to be made available from the UK government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change low carbon technologies fund. It is to be set aside to help advance the development of large-scale prototype marine devices into larger formations in the sea.

The funding scheme is expected to open next spring and, subject to a value for money assessment, will support two projects to test prototypes in array formations — the final development stage in generating large-scale electricity from marine power before commercial rollout.

Generating energy from the power of waves or tides has the potential to meet 15–20% of the UK’s current electricity demand by 2050, according to a statement from the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

ESRI offers map of oceans and coastal areas

The Ocean Basemap is a cached map service in ArcGIS Online designed to provide access to ocean data.

Developed by Esri, the Ocean Basemap includes bathymetry, marine water body names, undersea feature names and derived depth values in meters. Land features include administrative boundaries, cities, inland waters and roads overlaid on land cover and shaded relief imagery.

The basemap was built using a publicly available ocean data from a variety of sources, such as the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans, the IHO-IOC GEBCO Gazetteer of Undersea Feature Names and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Scales range from 1:1,000,000 to 1:36,000.

Users can contribute data to the Ocean Basemap, and Esri will update it monthly.

The basemap is located at: http://services.arcgisonline.com/ArcGIS/rest/services/Ocean-Basemap/MapServer.

Geographic Information System software developed by Esri is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide, the company says.

Alstom invests in Scottish ocean energy developer AWS

Scottish renewable energy firm AWS Ocean Energy announces that France’s Alstom has taken a 40% equity share in the company.

Alstom will be a shareholder, alongside Shell Technology Ventures Fund 1 and Scottish Investment Bank, which will continue their support of AWS.

The move complements the existing activities of Alstom’s Ocean Energy business in Nantes, France, where the company is developing its 1 MW commercial-scale tidal turbine prototype, the Beluga 9.

AWS is focusing on the development and delivery of its AWS-III wave energy converter, a floating device with a rated power output of 2.5 MW.

OpenHydro of Ireland announces jobs expansion

Ireland-based tidal energy company OpenHydro plans to recruit a number of additional positions through the end of 2012 as part of its expension strategy.

The company says this drive to attract up to 20 new employees coincides with the company’s plans to scale up production of its tidal turbines to meet growing global demand for its technology.

OpenHydro has a workforce of about 50 permanent employees, mostly located at the company’s technical center in Greenore. The new positions OpenHydro is looking to fill are primarily in engineering and operations.

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