The Leading Edge

Report to FERC shows no adverse effects from Maine tidal project

Ocean Renewable Power Co. submitted its first annual environmental monitoring report to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in March, showing no adverse effects from installation and operation of the 300-kW Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy project in Maine.

FERC issued a hydrokinetic pilot license project to Cobscook Bay in February 2012. It became the first commercial marine tidal project to go on line in North America in September 2012.

The report describes environmental monitoring conducted during the first phase of the Cobscook Bay project including construction, installation, and operational activities of the project's TidGen Power System. Results indicated no observed adverse interaction with the marine environment.

FERC required the licensee to develop and adaptive management plan for evaluation of environmental monitoring data and making informed decisions to modify monitoring as necessary. Federal and state resource agencies joined ORPC to form an adaptive management team to oversee the plan.

The report listed results of monitoring for acoustics, benthics and biofouling, fisheries and marine life interaction, hydraulics, marine mammals, and birds.

ORPC Maine, an Ocean Renewable Power Co. LLC subdiary, is developing Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy. The company has been engineering and field testing its turbines in waters off Eastport since 2004. It plans to install five units on the ocean floor in a 61-acre area between Goose Island and Grove Point, eventually increasing to 4 MW.

DOE announces funding opportunity for wave research

A new funding opportunity from the U.S. Department of Energy will finance marine power technology and component development with as much as US$13 million in awards.

DOE awarded 10 grants for use in "developing advanced controls, power systems, and device structures specifically for marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) applications, which harness energy from waves, tides, or currents."

A release said the department "intends to support projects that increase the power-to-weight ratio of MHK devices or improve system reliability" by investing in the following component technologies:

- Advanced Controls (up to six awards; $500,000 to $2 million each): Selected projects will develop advanced control systems, including software or hardware, and perform numerical modeling or testing to assess performance improvements. These types of controls offer opportunities to optimize energy capture and system load, which can increase output and system reliability.

- Next-Generation Power Take-Offs (up to two awards; $3 million each): Through the development of lighter, more compact and more efficient "power take-offs" (PTOs) -the MHK sub-system that includes the hardware needed to convert mechanical motion into electrical power - the selected projects will increase system and component reliability and modularity to make PTOs longer-lasting and easier to repair.

- Optimized Structures (up to two awards; $1 million each): Selected projects will develop and test an advanced device structure that minimizes the loads transmitted to other components and increases the device's ability to withstand extreme conditions.

More information can be found on DOE's Water Power Program webpage at

America's wave energy potential could account for as much as 1,420 TWh annual, or about a third of the U.S.' total yearly power usage, according to DOE.

Lucid Energy receives NSF certification for in-conduit turbines

Renewable power developer Lucid Energy has received certification from NSF International for its in-conduit hydro turbine systems.

The Portland-based company - manufacturers of the LucidPipe Power System - was awarded NSF/ANSI Standard 61 certification for its 24- and 42-inch turbines after testing by NSF International.

NSF International is an independent organization that evaluates and certifies projects in construction, food, water and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health and environmental effects.

"NSF certification is important for us because it enables us to assure our customers that the LucidPipe Power System is ready for widespread deployment in municipal drinking water systems," said Lucid Energy President and Chief Executive Officer Gregg Semler.

Lucid Energy's LucidPipe units use existing large-diameter pipeline to generate the water flow required to turn their turbines, meaning they can be installed in municipal, agricultural and industrial systems.

The company already has a commercial installation in Riverside, Calif., in addition to a partnership with the San Antonio Water System.

"We are extremely excited that we can now offer the systems on a global basis to water agencies seeking ways to reduce costs, lower carbon emissions and reduce reliance on grid-based power by using their existing water infrastructure to generate cost-effective renewable energy," Semler said.

DOE releases video explaining MHK energy

The U.S. Department of Energy offers an educational and informational Energy 101 video illustrating the basics of how marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technology works to capture energy from river currents and the motion of waves and tides and converts it into energy.

The 3-minute-long video demonstrates MHK technology in a number of settings, including oceans, rivers and bays. The video highlights the need for sturdy materials and hardy turbines unit due to the harsh environment.

The video is one of many "Energy 101" spots produced by the Department of Energy to educate and inform the general public on the basics, benefits, and future of the energy industry.

This video is available for viewing at

ResHydro wins Scottish grant for tidal technology development

Tidal technology developer ResHydro of New York will use a US$153,000 grant from Scottish Enterprise to establish a research operation in Glasgow.

The company won the award as part of Scottish Enterprise's SMART: SCOTLAND program, which is designed to help small and medium-sized enterprises develop projects with a commercial endpoint.

ResHydro will conduct its research in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, the company said.

The company's work focuses on what it calls its "hydrofoil cascade resonator" (HCR), which, unlike many forms of hydrokinetic generation, doesn't rely on waves or tides to turn a turbine-generator unit. Rather, the HCR system uses water flows to cause a set of vertical hydrofoils to oscillate. The company calls the resulting motion "flutter," and it is this translational movement that is then converted into energy.

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