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Aquamarine Power signs two contracts for Oyster 2 project

Marine developer Aquamarine Power announced its next-generation Oyster wave energy device is to be built in Scotland by fabrication contractor Burntisland Fabrications Ltd. (BiFab). And Falmouth-based marine drilling specialists Fugro Seacore will install the foundation system for the Oyster 2 device.

Under the terms of a £4 million (US$6.29 million) contract, the first next-generation Oyster device — known as Oyster 2 — will be fabricated over six months at BiFab's manufacturing plant at Methil on the Firth of Forth.

The £3 million ($4.8 million) contract for Seacore involves drilling and installation of steel piles for three devices this summer at Billia Croo near Stromness in Orkney.

Installation of the first Oyster 2 device will begin at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) near Stromness in summer 2011. The second two devices are scheduled to be in place in 2012.

Aquamarine's Oyster 2 demonstration project will consist of three flaps, each measuring 26 meters wide, which will be linked to a single onshore 2.4 MW power station. Although it is only 50% wider, it will deliver 250% more power than the original Oyster 1, which was deployed at EMEC last summer.

The new devices incorporate several design improvements, which means they will produce more energy and be simpler to install and easier to maintain, the developers say. A small farm of 20 Oyster devices would provide enough energy for more than 12,000 homes.

In November 2010, Aquamarine announced £11 million ($17.1 million) in new investment in the company. The announcement was made as Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond officially opened the company's new premises in Elder Street, Edinburgh.

The new funds comprise £8 million ($13 million) from ABB, a power and automation technology company, as well as £3 million ($4.9 million) from Aquamarine's existing shareholders, which include SSE Venture Capital, the unit of Scottish and Southern Energy.

The project is also being supported through grant funding awarded by Scottish Enterprise and the Carbon Trust Marine Renewables Proving Fund.

Tidal plant planned for India's Gulf of Kutch

A 50 MW tidal power project is planned for construction in the Gulf of Kutch in the Indian state of Gujarat, with marine energy developer Atlantis Resources Corp. partnering on the project.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the project was signed as part of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2011, which is attended by world leaders, business figureheads, and dignitaries from more than 70 countries.

Gujarat has agreed to terms with Atlantis Resources, which will partner with Gujarat Power Corp. Ltd. on the landmark project. Construction could begin as early as 2011. A total of 250 MW of future tidal power development was agreed under the MOU.

Atlantis Resources recently conducted an economic and technical study of prime sites in the Gulf of Kutch, where as much as 300 MW of economically extractable tidal power resource was discovered. The project company will also conduct investigations into the ability to combine the offshore wind resource in the Gulf with the tidal current resource.

The project team will begin work on an initial 50 MW project that could be scaled up to more than 200 MW of capacity. The project will require hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in tidal turbines, associated power export infrastructure, and development of a local supply chain.

OpenHydro signs two tidal energy development agreements

Naval defense group DCNS of France and Irish tidal renewable energy company OpenHydro have signed a strategic partnership agreement.

As part of the deal, DCNS has acquired an 8% holding in OpenHydro for an investment of €14 million (US$19.1 million), a press release states.

OpenHydro designs and manufactures marine turbines to generate energy from tidal streams, and the company's vision is to deploy farms of tidal turbines. DCNS also aims to play a leading role in marine renewable energy as part of its strategic growth plan.

The investment agreement is subject to approval from the French government and OpenHydro shareholders.

In related news, OpenHydro and Bord Gais Energy have concluded an agreement for Bord Gais to become a shareholder in OpenHydro.

The two also have formed a joint venture focused on the development of a utility-scale tidal farm off the coast of Ireland. Bord Gais Energy will initially invest €1 million ($1.4 million) in OpenHydro and has also agreed to invest a further €1 million on achievement of certain milestones relating to the tidal farm development.

Dominican Republic wave project could benefit from incentives

SME & Design's wave power project would be the first of its type to benefit from the Dominican Republic's renewables incentives law, an official from the national energy commission's incentives office has reportedly said.

The bill does not require tax payments during the first 10 years of operation, includes zero import duties, and provides up to 75% of equipment financing, among other benefits.

The commission has granted SME & Design a provisional concession to carry out studies for a breakwater system, government agency CIG reported.

The project is planned for Puerto Plata on the northern coast and could provide an installed capacity of up to 132 MW.

SME & Design has 18 months to carry out studies. The next step would be to secure the definitive concession to build and operate the project.

OPT wave power device achieves Lloyd's certification

Marine developer Ocean Power Technologies Inc. (OPT) has achieved an independent certification for its utility-scale PowerBuoy, the PB150, by the internationally respected Lloyd's Register, OPT has announced.

The certification from Lloyd's Register confirms that the PB150 (150 kW) design complies with the requirements of Lloyd's 1999 Rules and Regulations for the Classification of Floating Offshore Installations at a Fixed Location. This provides independent, third-party assurance on the design of the PB150 PowerBuoy for its intended use, as analyzed against international standards, OPT says.

Ross Wigg, renewables leader at Lloyd's Register, said: "Ocean Power Technologies is the first wave energy device developer that has approached Lloyd's Register for its assurance services. Our extensive experience in the offshore energy sector is critical to the fast-developing offshore renewable developments, and our certification of the PowerBuoy is a significant step for Ocean Power Technologies' product offering."

Certification of the PB150 PowerBuoy follows on from the company's installation in December 2009 of its PB40 PowerBuoy in Oahu, Hawaii, USA, and its subsequent connection to the transmission grid. That project contributed to the roll-out of OPT's next generation PB150 system for the utility markets. The first PB150 device is currently being prepared for transit to a location off the coast of Inverness, Scotland, for planned ocean testing.

Sea For Life introduces WEGA wave energy device

Portugal-based marine research and development company Sea for Life has introduced its WEGA (wave energy gravitational absorber) tech-nology, which uses the movement of waves to create power.

WEGA is an articulated suspended body, semi-submerged and attached to a mount structure, that oscillates in an elliptical orbit with the passage of waves. The movement of the body drives a hydraulic cylinder that pushes high-pressure fluid through an accumulator and a hydraulic motor, ultimately driving an electrical generator.

Sea For Life has been developing and building the WEGA device since 2007.

The next step is to put a WEGA prototype in the sea during 2011, a press release from the firm states.

HAE working to develop project in Galapagos Islands

A hydrokinetic project to be developed in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador is expected to provide electricity to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the province of Galapagos.

Hydro Alternative Energy Inc. (HAE), a company based in Jupiter, Florida, USA, is working under a one-year letter of intent to negotiate a definitive agreement that will address technical, environmental, and required governmental approvals; sourcing for project funding requirements; and electric power pricing.

This one-year agreement was signed by HAE and the Municipal government of San Cristobal County in June 2010.

The company conducted initial in-water, offshore testing in February 2010. HAE's so-called Free Flow System uses axial-flow turbines that are invisible from shore. These modular units can be scaled both in size and number to generate electricity from a wide range of sites, the company says.

In addition, HAE says it has signed letters of intent to develop hydrokinetic projects in other countries, including Haiti and Nigeria.

Alstom's marine business established at Nantes, France

Alstom has inaugurated the new premises of Alstom Hydro's ocean energy activities in Nantes, France. It marked the occasion by revealing the characteristics of Beluga 9, the group's tidal turbine, which will undergo its first tests in 2012 in Canada's Bay of Fundy.

Alstom's ocean energy business was created in 2009 when the company signed a technology licensing contract with Canadian group Clean Current.

Commenting on the development, Philippe Cochet, senior vice president, Alstom Hydro and Wind, said: "There is a considerable potential market for tidal energy, estimated between 50 and 100 GW worldwide, of which France and the United Kingdom account for 10%. We are now entering an industrialization and testing phase that will enable us to respond with a reliable solution as soon as the first calls for tenders appear."

Alstom's ocean energy activities will be located on the island of Nantes (Ile de Nantes) — historical site of the French shipyard industry — under the direction of Philippe Gilson, Alstom Hydro's ocean energy manager. The role of his team will be to design, manufacture, and market a new generation of tidal turbine-generators.

The 1 MW Beluga 9, intended for powerful currents (up to 4.5 m/sec, or 9 knots, on the surface during spring tides) will be Alstom's first tidal turbine-generator. It will have a diameter of 13 meters and a height of 20 meters and will be suited to sites at depths of 30 meters or more.

In addition, the Nantes division has begun preliminary studies for the development of a second model, intended for sites at greater depths where the tide is less powerful.

If all suitable underwater locations were equipped with tidal generators, it would be possible to generate 100 TWh of electricity annually, enough to supply power to 20 million households in Western Europe, Alstom said.

New tidal turbine planned for Canada's Bay of Fundy

Atlantis Resources Corp. of the UK has been awarded a fourth berth to test a tidal turbine in the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada, the government of Nova Scotia has said.

Atlantis is partnering with Irving Shipbuilding and Lockheed Martin to design, build, deploy, and monitor the AK-1000 Mark II turbine.

The company expects it will cost US$10 million to $15 million to deploy the turbine.

The AK series turbines are 1 MW and 2 MW commercial-scale horizontal axis turbines designed for open ocean deployment in harsh environments, according to Atlantis.

It joins three existing berth-holders: Nova Scotia Power with OpenHydro, Minas Basin Pulp and Power, and Clean Current of British Columbia.

Tocardo advances tidal energy technology

Dutch manufacturer Tocardo BV International is developing tidal devices in a variety of capacities for use in generating electricity from tidal and river flows, the company says.

The group's technology consists of a horizontal axis unit coupled to a permanent magnet direct drive generator with a two-bladed, fixed pitch rotor. Tocardo says viable energy extraction can occur with a current of just 1.5 m/sec but that its units are best suited for higher flows of say 3 to 3.5 m/sec.

Tocardo adds that its technology can be applied in several different situations: for example in a retrofit mode to existing barrages or bridges; instream or immediately behind a dam with an existing hydroelectric facility; and in the offshore environment, either mounted onto a floating platform, with a gravity base, or anchored to the seabed.

The T50 unit can be used for river and inshore applications and the T150 model can be used for river, inshore, and offshore applications. Meanwhile, a T500 unit which is scheduled to be completed and commercially available in 2011 is likely to be suitable for offshore applications.

In December 2010, Tocardo announced it was cooperating with the Strukton company of the Netherlands to develop and implement projects using its turbines. Strukton Civil develops, designs, constructs, and manages civil infrastructure projects from the initial design phase up to operation. Strukton will provide civil engineering, foundation, and installation for Tocardo's turbines.

Briefly…

ESB International has entered an agreement with Marine Current Turbines (MCT) to develop the initial phase of a 100 MW tidal project off the Antrim coast in Northern Ireland. If successful, the initial phase of the project, which will use MCT's SeaGen device, could be in operation by 2018.

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