WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. 5/8/12 (PennWell) -- Ocean power developer Hydro Alternative Energy Inc. has announced its plan to develop a 1-MW hydrokinetic project with South African municipality eThekwini.
The municipality, near Durbin, has will install one of HAE's Oceanus tidal power units at a cost of US$20 million. The unit will generate electricity using the Agulhas Current, which flows past the city.
"The Agulhas is one of the most consistent currents in the world," says eThekwini Municipality Energy Unit representative Derek Morgan. "So, if the ocean current generation was to happen, Durban would be an ideal location to start harnessing it.
"If we can get it right, it has the potential to completely transform the city into a green energy location for investment."
HAE says additional units, each with an anticipated capacity of 8 MW, could subsequently be built about 30 meters below sea level.
Discussions between HAE representatives and local government officials concerning such a project are ongoing. Prior discussions between HAE, eThekwini Municipality and the Durban Investment Promotion Agency led to an investment facilitation letter by the deputy city manager of eThekwini Municipality that confirms the municipality's in-principle support for HAE's planned power generation system project, to be undertaken in stages.
The first stage involves HAE's identification of suitable sites in the Agulhas current to install and moor offshore power generation systems. After such sites are identified, HAE plans to request environmental permits from the National Department of Environmental Affairs and that a power generation license be issued by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa for one or more power generation units after the production and testing of an initial non-power-producing demonstration unit.
The municipality confirmed its ability to purchase electricity directly from independent power producers such as HAE, provided that it complies with applicable legislative and municipal procurement procedures.
The municipality also says it will ensure that its staff provides HAE necessary assistance and support and give priority attention to any land use applications or other decisions that may be required to enable the project to be swiftly implemented.
HAE announced it had signed a letter of intent to develop projects in Haiti in mid-2010 and signed a memorandum of understanding with Mexican energy provider Energreen SA de C.V. earlier this month.