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The Leading Edge

Oregon organization supports wave energy development

The Oregon Wave Energy Trust is administering $4.2 million worth of work to advance the ocean wave energy industry in the state.

The work is being done as part of the Oregon Wave Energy Initiative, established to support research and development related to ocean wave energy. Funding for the trust’s work comes from the Oregon Innovation Council, which supports existing and emerging industries that create new job growth and position the state as a leader in core industrial and research sectors.

The work of the trust includes: serving as a wave energy clearinghouse; advocating for and supporting regulatory streamlining; developing environmental baseline data; identifying and supporting research and development needs; and investigating incentive programs.

– For more information, contact Justin Klure, Oregon Wave Energy Trust Interim Director, (1) 503-475-2999; E-mail:

Two wave energy projects proposed in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri and wave energy developer Oceanlinx Ltd. are working to develop two wave energy power plants off the coast.

Oceanlinx will build a 1.5-MW wave energy test plant at Block Island, 8 miles off Rhode Island’s coast, as well as a separate 15- to 20-MW wave energy project off Point Judith, just outside Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay.

Australia-based Oceanlinx, formerly Energetech Australia Pty Ltd., said it expects the Block Island site will be co-funded by grants of up to $4 million by Rhode Island state agencies, with the balance to be financed by low-interest bonds.

Rhode Island officials have worked with Oceanlinx since 2003. The officials include the initiative under Carcieri’s plan to use hydropower and related technologies, such as wave energy, to help Rhode Island increase its renewable energy to 20 percent of generation by 2011.

Oceanlinx also proposes to work with the University of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay Campus to develop a center for study of wave energy technology, to locate its East Coast headquarters in Rhode Island, and possibly to locate a manufacturing plant in the state.

Before the projects can fully proceed, officials said the Rhode Island Legislature and the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. must approve bond financing. The projects also would require approvals of the Coastal Resource Management Council, an independent state regulatory agency, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Oceanlinx is developing wave generators tethered to the sea bottom that utilize its Oscillating Water Column technology in which wave action compresses air that turns turbine-generators.

Oceanlinx also is seeking to develop the 10-MW Florence Wave Park project off the coast of Oregon and a 2.7-MW wave park off an island in Hawaii.

Superconductor generator to be used in wave converters

Ocean Power Technologies Inc. (OPT) and Converteam Ltd. are developing high-temperature superconductor (HTS) linear generators for use in OPT PowerBuoy wave energy converters.

The companies envision directly converting the linear up-and-down motion of waves into electricity using OPT’s PowerBuoy and Converteam’s HTS linear generator.

The companies will develop the technology jointly on an exclusive basis for at least five years. The parties also will investigate commercial opportunities and potential customers for HTS linear generator PowerBuoys.

OPT, based in Pennington, N.J., is a wave energy technology and project developer with PowerBuoy projects in the U.S., United Kingdom, and Spain. Its customers and partners include Iberdrola, Total, and the U.S. Navy. OPT also is working to deploy a 40-kW wave energy unit off the shore of the U.S. Marine base at Kaneohe Bay on Oahu, Hawaii. Eventually, the company is to install, test, and grid-connect multiple PowerBuoy units at the site.

Converteam, formerly Alstom Power Conversion, specializes in the development, design, and supply of electrical motors and generators, power converters, and cryogenic systems. The company, based in the United Kingdom, previously was named to build the world’s first high-temperature superconductor hydropower generator for installation at the 3.9-MW Hirschaid plant in Germany.

Companies propose tidal project for Canada’s Bay of Fundy

Maritime Tidal Energy Corp. of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and Marine Current Turbines of Bristol, United Kingdom, are preparing a joint proposal to deploy a tidal power system in Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy. When complete, the proposal will be submitted to Nova Scotia’s Department of Energy. This department intends for tidal turbines to be operating in the Bay of Fundy during 2009, Marine Current Turbines says.

Marine Current Turbines, developer of SeaGen, a tidal stream energy system, said the companies plan to deploy SeaGen technology in the bay, on Canada’s eastern seaboard.

EPRI offers primer on wave, tidal power

EPRI announces availability of a primer for use in informing the general public about the ocean wave and tidal power basics. EPRI says the primer can be a useful communication tool for utilities when discussing with stakeholders the possibility of adding ocean wave or tidal power to their portfolios of energy supply options.

The six-page Primer: Power from Ocean Waves and Tides discusses:

DOE funds research for ocean energy technology

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program is providing about $1 million for laboratory-based technical support for research, testing, or product development partnerships related to wind and ocean energy technologies.

The Cooperative Research and Development Agreement partnerships are expected to leverage industry experience and needs with the National Renewable Energy and Sandia National laboratories’ technology research and development expertise.

The partnerships will work to solve industry questions about utility-scale wind technologies. Subject to fiscal year 2008 congressional appropriations for an Ocean Energy Program, the partnerships also will work on ocean energy technologies, DOE said.

The Energy Department also is offering grants for ocean energy technology from the department’s Small Business Innovative Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

Technologies to be supported include wave energy converters, hydrokinetic turbines, and thermal energy conversion systems.

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