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UK considering increase in Renewable Obligation Certificates

Proposed changes to the UK's Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) program should benefit wave and tidal technology.

If the Department of Energy and Climate Change gets its way, the number of ROCs per MWh of marine energy will increase from 2 ROCs/MWh to 5 — meaning projects in England and Wales would benefit from the same level of support currently offered by the Scottish government for projects in Scottish waters.

The changes are intended to stimulate research and ensure that developers who test marine energy devices in the UK work toward implementing full-scale projects based on that research.

DECC has set a 30 MW cap on marine projects eligible for 5 ROCs in an effort to discourage giant wave and tidal arrays. However, the largest current project is smaller than 10 MW.

Siemens increases stake in Marine Current Turbines

Technology conglomerate Siemens has increased its stake in Britain's Marine Current Turbines Ltd. to 45%. Siemens first acquired a minor stake in the company in February 2010.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

MCT has a demonstration unit of its SeaGen device operating in Northern Ireland's Strangford Lough. The partnership with Siemens will be crucial in securing investors for the company's next projects, says MCT Chief Executive Officer Andrew Tyler. "We have the increased backing of a major industrial player in Siemens, which is essential to support the commercialization of our proven technology," he says.

MCT has approval from the UK's Crown Estate to deploy a 100 MW tidal farm off Brough Ness on the southernmost tip of the Orkney Islands in Scotland.

In other news, the Crown Estate has approved an agreement for lease off the coast of Anglesey, north Wales, to MCT for development of the 10 MW Skerries Tidal Stream Array.

The Crown Estate is to issue a lease once the Wales government grants required environmental consents for Skerries. MCT, in partnership with RWE npower renewables, submitted a consent application in March 2011 to install the array of nine tidal stream turbines in 2015.

MCT said it is ramping up efforts to finance the project, which is expected to cost £70 million (US$110.2 million), with money already received from the Welsh European Funding Office.

Perpetuwave advances wave development in Australia

Perpetuwave Power of Brisbane has signed an agreement with the University of Queensland in Australia to continue collaborative work on Perpetuwave's Wave Harvester technology.

This technology is aimed at producing maximum consistent power that is not interrupted by the time periods between waves, Perpetuwave says. The Wave harvester design uses large, independently operated elongated floats that move up and down via a trailing arm design from a structure located above the devices. The floats operate parallel to the wave fronts and can move backwards as well as upwards, capturing the energy in any breaking waves. Fixed horizontal stabilizer plates limit rocking motion of the system, the company says. All working components, including the generator, are located above water in a sealed environment.

 
This demonstration SeaGen device, manufactured by Marine Current Turbines, has been operating in Strangford Lough since November 2008.

This modular design consists of various numbers of 250 kW units, providing capacities of 500 kW, 1 MW and 1.5 MW.

In June 2010, researchers at the University of Queensland conducted tests that verified the Wave Harvester delivers efficient electricity generation over even modest wave heights, Perpetuwave says.

Aegir monitoring wave resource off southwest Shetland

Aegir Wave Power, a joint venture between Vattenfall and Pelamis Wave Power, is monitoring the wave resource off the southwest coast of Shetland in Scotland.

With support from the NAFC Marine Centre in Scalloway, one waverider buoy was deployed in June 2011 and a second in September 2011. The buoys are about 1 meter in diameter. The first buoy was deployed 5 km to the south, near St. Ninian's Island. The second buoy, deployed 2 km offshore of Kettle Ness, West Burra. They measure wave height, direction and period.

The buoys transmit data in real time to a shore receiving station at the NAFC Marine Centre. The center has signed a support agreement with Aegir to assist in project development activities, which includes monitoring and maintaining the wave buoys. The center carried out both deployment operations using a new vessel named MV Havra. The buoys are to remain on the site for one to three years.

Aegir is using the equipment to determine the wave energy resource and inform the design of the Shetland wave farm, which will consist of up to 14 Pelamis units that will provide up to 10 MW. The farm is proposed for construction in 2015.

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