Renew On Line (UK) 49

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 148 March-April 2004

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Innovation Review- Beyond wind
2. Marine Energy Challenge
3. 35,000 jobs by 2020 ..but UKERC is delayed
4. Security of Supply…BBC turns the lights off
5. Government pushes ahead with renewables and carbon trading
6. Wind costs and benefits
7. ‘No’ to the Severn Barrage
8. Stalling on Micro-CHP and VAT
9. Mini-Hydo project blocked, Biofuels still pushed
10. Europe Roundup: Germany gets it right
11. World Roundup: wave power hits US, 100% renewable Japan
12. Nuclear News: Waste haunts Italy, who will get ITER?


11. World Roundup

Wave energy hits USA

Wave power has been making a big splash in the USA, with a wide range of new projects getting started.   The US Electrical Power Research Institutes Offshore Wave Project team is currently identifying sites for both a 500KW wave energy power plant feasibility demonstration system and a multi-tens of MW commercial offshore wave power plant in the six states of interest- Maine, Massachusetts, California, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii.   

Some of the technology being used in the new US wave boom is imported from Australia. Energetech America LLC, the wholly owned US subsidiary of Energetech Australia Pty. Ltd., has received grant funding of US$250,000 from two state renewable funds for the pre- development phase of a planned wave energy project in Rhode Island. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (US$150,000) and the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund (US$100,000) have awarded Energetech America LLC the funding to help advance the project through the permitting and feasibility stage. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative have also awarded Energetech America LLC grant funding of US$500,000 toward the development and construction phase of the project. See: (Click “media center” then “what’s new”)

 Meanwhile though, new US designs are emerging. The SEADOG ocean-wave pump, developed by Independent Natural Resources, Inc, has been tested in a wave tank at the Offshore Technology Research Center run by the University of Texas.  The device  captures energy from ocean swells or waves to pump seawater to a land-based reservoir or water tower, where the water can be returned to the ocean through hydroelectric turbines, thereby producing inexpensive, renewable electricity. Tests on a scale SEADOG prototype indicate that a full- size version of the pump should be able to consistently pump water 275 feet uphill at a pre-determined flow rate. “Our technology avoids many of the problems other ocean-based power- generating technologies are struggling with today, because the SEADOG doesn’t involve any electrical components that can be damaged by sea water,” said Doug Sandberg, vice president, INRI. “And, because our device pumps water to a reservoir, it can store potential energy and generate power on demand, even when waves are too low to generate power. These two factors represent key advantages for our product.”

According to INRI calculations, the company’s wave-pump technology is potentially capable of generating 755 megawatts of hydroelectric energy for every one-square-mile pump field, assuming ocean swells averaging at least nine-feet. With swells of at least five-feet, a one-square mile pump field could generate approximately 242 megawatts.  See

In parallel, the US company Ocean Power Technologies Inc (OPT) is pushing ahead with its anchored buoy technology.   The company  is preparing to test a 20-50kW system to power the US Marine Corps Base at Kaneohe in Hawaii.  There are also plans for a second buoy system there, with 1MW capacity from six buoys. OPT has also been awarded a $0.5m contract from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Office to install & operate PowerBuoy off the coast of New Jersey. It is hoped that this could lead to a scale-up to a multi-megawatt OPT power station there. OPT is  also exporting its technology to Australia. It is developing 20-50kW pilot system off Portland, Victoria, helped by federal Renewable Energy Industry Program grant for $230,000. There are  also plans for a wave plant of   up to 25MW at Yanchep, north of Perth (see  and a plan to provide energy for City of Wanneroo, one of Australia’s fastest growing municipalities.  In addition, OPT is evaluating a demonstration plant in Scotland, possibly leading to $235m full scale commercial plant.     Sources:   

The UK is of course still pushing ahead with its own projects. Wavegen is working on its new offshore OWC prototype and Ocean Power Delivery has just launched its first full scale Pelamis sea snake prototype, rated at 750kW. It is undergoing tests in the Firth of Forth  and the new Marine Energy Test Centre in Orkney.  

100%Renewable Japan ?

A new report- ‘Energy Rich Japan- Full renewable energy supply of Japan’- claims that Japan could make a ‘transition to clean,renewable energy without any sacrifice in living standards or industrial capacity’.   The report takes Japan’s current energy use, based on 1999 levels, and shows that demand could be reduced by 50%with energy efficient technologies that are already available around the world today. The “ERJ High Efficiency Demand Model” shows that using highly energy efficient technologies could save nearly 40% of today’s energy consumption in the industrial sector, more than 50% in the residential and commercial sectors and about 70% in the transport sector.  The report then shows how renewable energy could be used to meet that new level of demand, reducing and ultimately eliminating the need for imports. Six scenarios of how this might happen are outlined in the report, all of which can provide 100% renewable energy for Japan.

Starting from a basic model (Scenario One) providing more than 50% of total energy needs from domestic renewable sources, each subsequent scenario provides variations or expansions on Scenario One, gradually reducing the reliance on imported energy, factoring in different population projections and expected improvements in renewable generation capacity and energy efficiencies, until by Scenarios Five and Six, no energy imports are required.

For more information see

The summary can be downloaded from:

An animation of the dynamics of the electrical system is at:

Exxons Impact

According to a report “Exxon’s Climate Footprint” based on two studies carried out by independent experts commissioned by Friends of the Earth, since the foundation of its predecessor, the Standard Oil Trust in 1882, over the past 120 years, the operations and burning of products of oil giant Exxon Mobil have released 20.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide- about three times the current annual global emissions from fossil fuels (and about 13 times the annual US emissions). The report says that Exxons emissions represent between 4.7 and 5.3% of all human-made carbon dioxide emissions across the globe and that around 70% of the company’s emissions have been since 1967.

FoE say that Exxon Mobil was chosen as the first company for such an assessment because ‘it has repeatedly attempted to undermine the scientific consensus on climate change and actively resisted attempts to limit carbon dioxide emissions’.

Shell Reserves Cut

Shell have disclosed that it has erroneously  overstated its proven reserves of oil and natural gas by around 20%- the equivalent of 3.9 billion barrels of oil.   The oil portion is about two-thirds of the revision, and represents around $67.5 billion in lost potential future revenue, assuming moderate oil prices. But at least that means that there’s less carbon to burn off.

Climate Change moves

At a conference in Bonn in July 2001, 20 countries including the 15 EU member states committed themselves to provide 410m dollars a year to developing countries until 2005. As a follow up, the European Union has now pledged 390 m dollars (325m euros) a year to help developing countries from 2005 fight the effects of climate change.

Kyoto Ratification

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian parliament has voted to ratify the Kyoto protocol. The Environment minister has argued that the country would be able to earn $1.5bn selling surplus allowances. The Ukraine is also keen to encourage investment via the JI (Joint Implementation) scheme adopted at Kyoto.

However, the Russian foreign ministry has rejected a Franco-German appeal for Russia to ratify Kyoto for the sake of wider European harmony, saying that there were big issues that needed to be considered before a decision could be made.

Source: European Powerfocus Weekly 129


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