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Ireland utility to invest in renewables including ocean  

Ireland’s Electricity Supply Board (ESB) announces an investment program of 22 billion euros (US$34.72 billion), half of which it plans to spend on renewable energy sources such as ocean, wind, and biomass power.

The state-owned company aims to halve its carbon emissions within 12 years, by which time it will be delivering one-third of its electricity from renewables generation. European Union countries agreed to cut emissions contributing to global warming by 20 percent by 2020 and to increase the share of wind, solar, hydro, and ocean power in electricity output by the same date.

“This will include over 1,400 mw of wind generation, in addition to wave, tidal, and biomass,” ESB said of the investment. ESB is to invest 4 billion euros (US$6.26 billion) directly in renewable energy projects.

ESB unit ESB International is investing 3 million pounds (US$5.9 million) in Marine Current Turbines’ 1.2-mw SeaGen tidal energy system being installed at Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough. In addition, ESB’s retail subsidiary, ESB Independent Energy, has signed a five-year power purchase agreement for all output of the project.


Work progressing on Sihwa tidal plant in Korea

Korea Water Resources Corporation (Kwater) is moving forward with construction of the 254-mw Sihwa Tidal Power Project on the west coast of the Republic of Korea.

A consortium led by Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd. in Seoul, Korea, is the primary contractor. The draft tubes are being installed, and concrete is being poured to hold the draft tubes in place. Daweoo subcontracted manufacturing of non-core components to Zhefu of China.

Andritz VA Tech Hydro in Austria designed the ten bulb-type turbines and the direct-driven generators and is supplying all the major equipment, including the generators and local control units. Manufacturing of the turbines, generators, and major electrical equipment is nearly complete. About half of this equipment has been delivered, says Leopold Losbichler with Andritz VA Tech Hydro.

The project is scheduled to be complete in November 2010.


Equipment fully assembled for Cantabria wave project  

The equipment has been fully assembled for the 1.25-mw Cantabria wave energy project, to be deployed off the coast of Spain.

To commemorate the occasion, a delegation of Spanish government officials visited the Spanish facilities of Ocean Technologies Inc. (OPT) for the first public viewing of the fully assembled equipment. Also taking part were OPT’s joint venture partners, Spanish utility Iberdrola S.A. and French energy company Total S.A.

The joint venture company, Iberdrola Energias Marinas de Cantabria S.A., signed a turnkey contract in 2006 with OPT to build the first phase of the 1.25-mw Cantabria plant 5 miles off Santona in Cantabria Region. The joint venture is to purchase the station from OPT. OPT is to be responsible for the project’s operation and maintenance under a ten-year contract signed in 2007.

Employing OPT’s PowerBuoy technology, the 3 million euro (US$4.6 million) investment will include ten buoys anchored on the seabed that convert wave energy into electricity. OPT already completed system design, characterization of the deployment site, assessment of wave energy resources, and determination of a transmission cable route under a preliminary agreement signed in 2004.


OPT active in France, United Kingdom

OPT, Iberdrola, and Total also signed an agreement to develop wave energy installations in France. The companies are to seek possible locations and obtain administrative authorizations and permits needed to carry out a French pilot project.

OPT said it is in the process of securing a sub-contractor to perform wave data collection at possible French sites.

OPT also is carrying out wave energy project work at two sites in the United Kingdom.

It said design is under way and some construction has begun on a 150-kw PB150 PowerBuoy for deployment at the European Marine Energy Centre in Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

And OPT is to install a 5-mw PowerBuoy project at the Wave Hub ocean energy test facility to be constructed off the coast of Hayle, Cornwall, England.


India moving forward on 3.75-mw Durgaduani Tidal

West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA) is moving forward on development of the 3.75-mw Durgaduani Tidal Power project in West Bengal State with India’s National Hydroelectric Power Corp. (NHPC).

India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has approved construction of the project, to be built at Sunderban for an investment of about 500 million rupees (US$12.6 million). The central government is to provide 90 percent of the funding, while West Bengal State provides 10 percent. Work is to be completed by 2010.

WBREDA’s next step is to solicit bids for Indian companies to build the project.


Wave energy bobber being developed in the U.K.

The Manchester Bobber Company Ltd. in the United Kingdom is developing a wave energy conversion device. The Manchester Bobber consists of a floating bobber attached to a pulley that drives a flywheel to generate electricity.

The Manchester Bobber is designed so that only the floating bobber is in contact with water. The rest of the system sits above the bobber. The rising and falling motion of the waves drives a pulley that is connected to a clutch. When the float descends, the pulley engages the clutch. When the system reaches maximum speed the clutch disengages, allowing the flywheel to continue rotating. This rotation is used to produce electricity using a conventional variable-speed induction generator.

The company plans to test a single full-scale bobber at the European Marine Energy Center off Orkney, Scotland, in 2009. This installation will remain for a year, and the developer will use the results to improve the system.

At full scale, the floating platform will support 25 500-kw floating bobbers, providing a 12.5-mw offshore power station.


Danish company developing wave energy converter

Wave Star Energy in Denmark is testing its Wave Star wave energy converter in the North Sea off Denmark.

The converter consists of an oblong central unit that rests on steel pillars, above the surface of the water. Each side of this unit features 20 hemisphere-shaped fiberglass floats, partially submerged in the water, that are linked to the unit via shafts connected to a hydraulic cylinder. The unit is situated at right angles to the direction of the waves. As a wave moves past the unit, the first float is lifted upward, then the second, and on down the line. When the float is raised, a piston in the hydraulic cylinder presses oil into a common transmission system. This pressure drives a hydraulic motor connected to a generator to produce electricity.

The 1:10 scale model is 24 meters long and can be placed in water 2 meters deep. The 1-meter-diameter floats are arranged 20 on each side of the machine. The unit can generate electricity from waves with a height of 5 centimeters. This model is installed in Nissum Bredning in northwestern Denmark.

Wave Star Energy has begun developing a 1:2 scale model, which will have a capacity of 500 kw. The company plans to begin testing this unit in the North Sea in 2008 and plans to install it 15 kilometers offshore in 2009.

Briefly...

Developer Marine Current Turbines (MCT) has secured investments totaling 4.8 million pounds (US$9.5 million) in its SeaGen tidal technology from ESB International, part of Ireland’s national electricity company; Hazel Capital; EDF Energy; BankInvest; and Triodos Bank. ... Danish wave energy developer Wave Dragon Ltd. has appointed David Kaner, PhD, chief executive. Kaner, who has been involved with private equity and several early-stage businesses, will help move the company’s Wave Dragon technology toward full-scale commercialization.


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