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The Leading Edge

Eaton to develop utility-scale energy generation for U.S. Navy

Industrial manufacture Eaton Corp. will assist in developing a utility-scale, underwater energy generation system as part of a five-year contract with the U.S. Navy by handling the land-based engineering and manufacturing distribution equipment to transmit power safely and efficiently to Navy facilities on shore.

Eclipse Group and Triton Energy Systems are also on board with this project, leading underwater construction and generation engineering efforts, respectively.

Once completed, the underwater system will allow the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), which manages the Navy's port and land-based operations, to utilize underwater turbine technology to provide a sustainable source of utility scale power by capturing power from ocean currents. Triton's 1-MW electric ring generator system will be used for this project.

Eaton will handle land-based engineering and coordinate the long-term operational maintenance. The system will be thoroughly documented to provide a model for potential future applications.

GlobalData releases update on American marine power

A report from energy market analyst GlobalData shows that collaborations in marine power technology development between the industrial and academic sectors in the U.S. are stronger than ever.

According to GlobalData's report - titled " Marine Power (Wave and Tidal) - Installed Capacity, Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE), Profiles of Technology Developers and Key Country Analysis to 2030" - about 50 tidal projects are in various stages of development throughout the U.S.

The report notes that an Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) study calculates America's hydrokinetic potential for a depth of 60 meters at 2,610 TWh per year, with the bulk of this surrounding Alaska and the west coast. GlobalData also notes Maine, New Jersey and Massachusetts have untapped potential for ocean energy development.

This generating potential has led to more than US$87 million in hydrokinetic investment from the U.S. Department of Energy via its Water Power Program, which provides funding for universities, laboratories, industry and other agencies working in marine technologies.

OPT PowerBuoy installation delayed due to weather

Hydrokinetic energy developer Ocean Power Technologies Inc. has delayed its plan to install one of its PowerBuoy generating units off the Oregon coast until spring.

The New Jersey-based company had planned to deploy one of its PowerBuoy systems near Reedsport as part of its ongoing testing, but the early onset of unfavorable weather in the Pacific Northwest has caused OPT to reconsider.

OPT says it was able to get one of the needed three anchors installed before efforts were halted. The remaining anchors will winter in Reedsport, while the generating unit itself will be stored in Portland.

Lucid Energy signs deal for in-pipe demonstration site

Renewable power system developer Lucid Energy Inc. has partnered with the San Antonio Water System to build a demonstration site for its LucidPipe Power System. The LucidPipe system - developed with Northwest Pipe Company - features a patented, spherical, vertical-axis turbine that uses energy in the form of excess head pressure in large, gravity-fed pipelines.

The company says one or more turbines can be installed inside sections of large-diameter steel water pipe without affecting operations or water flow.

Lucid's partnership with SAWS will include three LucidPipe turbines inside a section of 24-inch steel water pipe at the Regional Carrizo Water Supply Project.

"Utilizing our water infrastructure to generate renewable energy fits our philosophy of environmentally smart solutions because it taps an existing resource ... to provide low-impact, low-cost renewable energy," says Steve Clouse, SAWS chief operating officer and senior vice president.

When completed in early 2013, the project will have a capacity of 60 kW.

Company completes study of U.S. wave power potential

Sacramento-based Re Vision announced the completion of a study detailing the untapped potential of wave energy in the U.S. The study was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2010.

The study discusses the potential for electricity generation via wave power in technical, practical and theoretical terms. The company used a reference site in Northern California to document the lifecycle cost profile of wave energy technology and the cost of electrical variations. Additionally, the study provides information regarding cost reduction for wave power technologies, both at the deployment and operation stages.

Among the conclusions included, the report states that wave energy possesses the potential to generate up to 630 TWh each year which equates to 15% of the U.S. electric demand in 2011. Additionally, this amount would double the current installed capacity which supplies 12% of the demand.

The full report is available for download at

Texas A&M tests ocean wave energy converter

Recent testing of an ocean energy wave converter at the Texas A&M Offshore Technology Research Center was successful, with the Cycloidal Wave Energy Converter (CycWEC) generating 370 watts in an offshore wave basin facility.

Designed and manufactured by Atargis Energy Corporation, the CycWEC is a fully submerged unit. It utilizes hydrofoils that lift into the incoming waves and rotate to power a generator.

The success of the testing campaign demonstrates the increasing technological readiness of the energy converter to the hydro community, private investors, and the Department of Energy, Atargis says. Results of the preliminary tests will help improve the performance, efficiency, and software components of the prototypes to follow while reducing the cost to construct and deploy a unit.

The tested model was at a 1:10 scale. The full-size prototype will have a capacity of 5 MW and be constructed at a 1:4 scale. Atargis will test the prototype in 2013 and again in 2014 before deployment at a currently undisclosed site.

More funding, research buoys Bay of Fundy tidal development

The Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) announced that the first underwater ocean monitoring program will be developed in the Bay of Fundy, supported by C$10 million from the Canadian government (C$5 million), Encana Corporation (C$3 million), FORCE (C$1 million), and Ocean Networks Canada (C$1 million).

The development is a one-of-a-kind project consisting of a subsea platform capable of monitoring flow in the extreme conditions of the Bay of Fundy. The platform will relay data via a submarine cable to the FORCE observation facility.

"We are installing a turbine in one of the fastest flowing tidal races in the world, 40 meters below the surface of the ocean. We need to know everything we can about these conditions: current speeds, direction of flow, water content, and how everything changes," Woods says.

The monitoring program will provide continuous data collection of waves and currents, turbulence, and other tidal data, documented visualization of marine life movement and behavior, and an opportunity to establish a standard of monitoring in high-flow areas.

FORCE invites proposals for Minas Passage developer

Energy Minister Charlie Parker has invited a fourth tidal energy developer to contribute to the testing efforts currently under way in the Bay of Fundy.

Tidal energy testing is being performed in the Minas Passage of the Bay of Fundy by scientists with the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE), a non-profit tidal energy partnership that promotes professionals from a variety of industries to study turbines and their use in the Bay of Fundy.

In an announcement at the Ocean Renewable Energy Group's 2012 annual conference, Parker states, "Our tidal energy test facility is a leading center for research that is helping develop a technology that can withstand the most powerful tides in the world. Now another developer will have an opportunity to test its technology and contribute to our understanding of how these devices interact with the marine environment."

Solicitation is open for proposals from developers to test single or multiple units, up to 5 MW, according to a release by FORCE. The selected developer will partner with developers already in place - Alstom, Minas Basin Pulp and Power, and Atlantis - in the Minas Passage. Power generated from the sites will be transmitted via a subsea cable.

The deadline for proposals is March 31, 2013.

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