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New Hydro

Five marine projects secure Scottish state funding

The Scottish government has awarded £13 million (US$19.7 million) in grants to five marine hydropower projects through a wave and tidal hydro development program.

The funding came through the Wave and Tidal Energy: Research, Development and Demonstration Support (WATERS) program. This program is a collaboration between the Scottish government and business and economic growth agencies Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, with support from European Regional Development Funds.

The grants will help develop emerging energy technologies with the aim of positioning Scotland as global leader in marine power, Scottish Energy Minister Jim Mather said.

The grants include:

— RWE npower renewables: £6 million ($9.5 million) to support construction of one the 10-turbine, 4 MW Siadar project off the Western Isles;

— Aquamarine Power: £3.15 million ($5 million) to support demonstration of its 2.4 MW Oyster 3 project at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney;

— OpenHydro: £1.85 million ($2.9 million) to support a power conversion/control system to deliver a cost-effective method of connecting marine energy devices in tidal arrays;

— AWS Ocean Energy: £1.39 million ($2.2 million) to support tests in Loch Ness and the Cromarty Firth of its wave energy converter; and,

— Ocean Flow Energy: £560,000 ($889,000) to build and deploy the Evopod, a 35 kW floating grid-connected tidal turbine, at Sanda Sound in South Kintyre.

Orthogonal turbines being tested at Russian tidal plants

Novel orthogonal turbines have been installed at several tidal facilities in Russia, including a 400 kW unit at the Kislogubskaya plant.

This tidal plant began operating in 1968. In 2004, a 2.5 meter-diameter pilot machine was installed at the bottom outlet of Kislogubskaya, says Igor N. Usachev, director of the Scientific and Technical Center of Tidal Energy at the Moscow Scientific Research Institute of Energy Structures. Scientists at the institute developed this new turbine, which is a variation of the Deriaz-type, with straight blades.

The orthogonal turbine consists of straight-line runner blades with a constant cross-section, which allows them to be cut from sections of rolled steel. Thus, the runners can be relatively easily fabricated in large quantities at general-purpose machine-building facilities, rather than at specialized manufacturing plants, Usachev adds. Also, the quantity of metal per turbine is lower when compared with axial-flow units, Usachev says. For example, at Kislogubskaya, the weight of a bulb unit with a wheel diameter of 3.3 meters is 4.5 times greater than the weight of an orthogonal unit with a wheel diameter of 2.5 meters.

Based on the results of testing of the 2.5 meter unit installed in 2004, in 2007 a 5 meter-diameter machine was installed at the Kislogubskaya plant in a caisson block module. This floating arrangement decreases capital costs by about a third by eliminating the need for protective cofferdams around the plant, Usachev says.

Similar orthogonal turbines have been in operation at the Senezh and 1.5-MW Malaya Mezenskaya tidal projects. The Senezh plant contains two units with runner diameters of 0.25 and 0.86 meters, and the unit at Malaya Mezenskaya also has a 5 meter diameter. Further plans are under way to install orthogonal units in the Severnaya and Tugurskaya tidal projects, too.

Wave Hub on track for summer 2011 deployment

A marine renewable infrastructure project that will create the world's largest test site for arrays of wave energy technology devices is on course to be deployed by summer 2011. The Wave Hub and its 25 km-long cable were being loaded onto a cable laying ship in July 2010, in anticipation of future deployment offshore in the UK.

Wave Hub is being developed by the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA). It is situated on the seabed in about 50 meters of water about 16 km off the coast of Cornwall and is connected to the national grid via a subsea cable. Wave Hub will create a test site for wave energy technology by building a grid-connected socket on the seabed, to which wave power devices can be connected and their performance evaluated.

Hartlepool-based JDR Cable Systems constructed the armored subsea cable that will connect Wave Hub to the grid and the hub structure that will sit on the seabed. The hub assembly will provide a connection between the main cable from the shore and the tails leading to the wave energy devices.

CTC Marine, part of the Texas, United States-based Trico Marine Group, will handle the deployment and installation of the subsea cable and deployment of the hub itself on the seabed, CTC reported, under the terms of a £7 million (US$10.7 million) contract that was awarded after a competitive tender.

E.ON unveils Pelamis-built wave energy hydropower device

A subsidiary of German utility E.ON AG has unveiled its first wave energy hydropower device in the United Kingdom. Pelamis Wave Power Ltd. developed and constructed the device, which will be tested at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond launched the P2 750 kW wave energy device at Leith Port in Edinburgh. The machine will be towed to EMEC, where it will be installed and tested, E.ON reported.

Installation of the Pelamis wave energy converter at EMEC will mark the first time the P2 machine has been tested anywhere in the world and also represents the UK's first commercial supply contract within the marine energy sector, media reports indicate.

The P2 device is 180 meters long and weighs about 1,500 tons.

RWE Innogy, Voith Hydro to install marine tidal current turbine

A 1 MW marine tidal current turbine off the Scottish coast is being installed by RWE Innogy and Voith Hydro through their joint venture Voith Hydro Ocean Current Technologies, the project developers have reported.

Once installation and commissioning is complete in 2011, the turbine is to commence a two-year trial at the European Marine Energy Centre in the Orkney Islands off Scotland.

Total investment is about £11.8 million (US$17.3 million) and the project is supported by the British government, which is providing £1.7 million ($2.7 million) through the Carbon Trust's Marine Renewables Proving Fund. Overall, the investment costs will decrease significantly as this technology is migrated to series production, the developers claim.

Marine energy developers sought for 200 MW in Scotland

Plans to establish 200 MW of ocean energy generation capacity in Scotland's Inner Sound by 2020 are being pushed through by the UK's Crown Estate, owners of rights to offshore development.

Inner Sound, which lies between Caithness on the Scottish mainland and the island of Stroma, was part of a 2008 solicitation to develop 700 MW of ocean generation in Scotland's Pentland Firth by 2020. Although developers signed 10 Pentland Firth contracts in March 2010, totaling 1,200 MW, the preferred bidder for Inner Sound withdrew at a late date, the Crown Estate said.

Thus, the Crown Estate reissued a call for expressions of interest in developing a single commercial project of 200 MW or more, saying that Inner Sound was one of the most contested areas in the Pentland Firth leasing round.

A successful bidder is expected to develop the site and enter the statutory consenting process.

Briefly

Wave energy worldwide has the potential to provide 6,000 TWh per year, and the market potential is about US$1 trillion, according to a new report form analysis firm Frost & Sullivan.

Tidal potential worldwide is 700 TWh per year, the report says. The analysis also indicates that ocean (wave and tidal) technology is much more reliable and predictable than other kinds of renewable energies, such as wind or solar.

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