Renew On Line (UK) 61

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 161 May-June2006
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


The Energy Review

Climate Policy arrives

Tidal and wave power

Micro CHP Results

Policy developments

Where the money goes.

UK round up

Climate Threats

Global News

EU News

News around the world

Nuclear News

3. Tidal and wave power

SW Wave Hub - the first three projects

The South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA) has named three companies it has chosen as development partners for the proposed £15 million Wave Hub project off the SW coast from 2007- they are Ocean Prospect Ltd, who plan to trial up to 10 Pelamis devices developed by Ocean Power Delivery of Edinburgh, Ocean Power Technologies, who plan to install a 5MW project based on its PowerBuoy wave energy converter, and Fred. Olsen Ltd, a shipping company who have developed a unique multiple point-absorber system for wave energy extraction. The Wave Hub aims to create the world’s first wave energy farm off the coast of Cornwall by building an electrical ‘socket’ on the seabed around 10 miles out to sea and connected to the National Grid via an underwater cable. Wave energy devices will be connected to the Wave Hub, allowing device manufacturers to carry out large-scale testing of their machines before going into commercial production.

Sixteen companies from around the world expressed an interest in using Wave Hub. The South West RDA interviewed a number of them and chosen three with whom it will work for the first phase of the project. This is expected to see work commence on building Wave Hub next year, with wave devices deployed soon afterwards.

Nick Harrington, Wave Hub Project manager at the SW RDA, said: “We have chosen three companies that are sufficiently advanced with their devices, have the resources to deliver their projects and are committed to working with stakeholders in Cornwall through the Cornwall Sustainable Energy Partnership to capture the economic benefits of Wave Hub for Cornwall and the South West region. All three have developed very different technologies and will form a core group with which we can move forward. There is still space on Wave Hub for other companies to join later, and we are likely to hold more interviews later this year for further deployments in the future.”

The SWRDA notes that there are still several hurdles to overcome before Wave Hub becomes a reality. Funding is being sought to meet the £15m costs of the project and consents need to be secured from the DTI and DEFRA.

The SW RDA, which has already committed £2m to the Wave Hub project as part of its strategy to develop environmental technologies in the South West, will also be seeking a private sector partner that would own and operate Wave Hub.

* Colin Palmer, Director of Ocean Prospect said: “Wave Hub makes it economic for us to develop our first wave energy project. Without it we would have to wait a long time for the market conditions to be right for a large scale, stand alone project.” The Pelamis is a semi-submerged, articulated structure composed of cylindrical sections linked by hinged joints. The wave-induced motion of these joints is resisted by hydraulic rams, which pump high-pressure oil through hydraulic motors which drive electrical generators.

Mark Draper, Chief Executive of US-based Ocean Power Technologies Ltd, said, “We are delighted we can now explore one of the world’s largest wave energy resources. Wave Hub offers us an excellent opportunity to work with Cornwall’s long standing manufacturing credentials, a skilled labour force and strong public support.” The PowerBuoy is free floating and loosely moored to the seabed; the buoy’s float moves up and down on the central spar as the waves pass. This mechanical movement drives a hydraulic pump that forces hydraulic fluid through a rotary motor connected to a generator.

Fred. Olsen Ltd, have diversified into renewable energy, including the ownership and operation of wind farms mainly in the UK, small hydro and most recently investment in wave devices. Their wave system has a number of floating buoys attached to a light and stable floating platform manufactured in composites. A 1:3 scale research platform, named “Buldra”, has been in operation and under test since 2004.

10MW Tidal Farm for N Devon?

A stretch of water in the Bristol Channel, 2kms off the north Devon coast, could be the location for England’s first commercial tidal energy farm. Marine Current Turbines, the company that installed the world’s first tidal stream device off Lynmouth in 2003 (the 300kW SeaFlow device) is investigating the feasibility of building a 12 unit tidal energy farm in waters 2kms north-west of Lynmouth, off Foreland Point on the north Devon coast. The 10 megawatt tidal farm, to be known as the Lynmouth SeaGen Array, would be connected to the local electricity network and, it is claimed, have the capacity to supply energy to around 5,500 homes.

As reported in Renew 160, Marine Current Turbines (MCT), has already received permission to install a 1 MW Seagen tidal stream device in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough. Now, following consultations with local interests in Devon last year, MCT has written to various other national and local organisations to outline its even more ambitious plans for Lynmouth.

Martin Wright, MCT’s Managing Director said: “The strong currents in the Bristol Channel offer one of the best resources for tidal energy in the UK. The success of our SeaFlow device in the same stretch of water gives us every confidence that we can generate clean power for the local area on a commercial basis with minimal effect on the local and marine environment. Importantly, the predictability of the tides in the Bristol Channel and in other parts of the UK means that we can accurately know how much electricity can be generated at a particular time. However, given the array’s size and location, it’s important that we still examine the environmental impact and the other issues associated with its possible development.”

Working with PMSS Ltd, a leading environmental, health & safety and project development consultancy, MCT will produce an Environmental Impact Assessment and then determine whether or not the waters off Lynmouth are a suitable location for the 12 unit array and what consents to seek.

..and also for Wales?

MCT is also working on plans for a Welsh project. With funding from the Welsh Assembly Government, it is to examine and identify locations around the Welsh coastline where its tidal stream technology could be suitable- with a 10MW tidal farm project being the aim for ‘at least one’ of the sites. Supported by the Welsh Development Agency’s Energy Office, MCT will lead the 18 month project and will work with the Cardiff office of PMSS Ltd, studying the marine environment and tidal flows around the Welsh coast, local navigation, connections to the electricity network and engineering and financing issues.

MCT’s Martin Wright said: ‘Given our work in the Bristol Channel and in Northern Ireland over the past five years, I am confident that tidal stream energy will contribute to Wales’s sustainable energy targets within the next three years.

With luck then, if the Devon and Welsh projects get the go ahead, we could have 20MW or more of tidal power.

Alderney too...

Alderney Renewable Energy has won the first contract to develop tidal power for Alderney, with a five-year deal providing exclusive rights to carry out research and develop technology. A trial version of tidal generators could be commissioned within five years after environmental impact assessments have been done. Research by a local panel two years ago, suggested that the island could source all of its power from local tides. Source: ReFocus Weekly

20%of power from Wave and tidal

Marine energy could ultimately provide up to 20% of the UK’s current electricity needs and become cost competitive with conventional and other renewable types of energy generation- given the right level of investment now, according to a new report by the Carbon Trust into the future costs and growth potential of the UK wave and tidal stream energy.

The report says that that they could meet 3% of the UK’s total electricity supply by 2020. The study is based on the Carbon Trust’s Marine Energy Challenge, a £3m, 18-month programme designed to improve understanding of wave and tidal stream energy by helping developers advance their technologies. The Trust recognises that marine energy currently costs more than conventional and other alternative energy sources as the generation technologies are at early stages of development, but says that the cost of marine renewables should fall significantly if they are given proper support.

John Callaghan, Programme Engineer at the Carbon Trust, said: ‘The UK leads the world in marine renewables technology development. Given our superb natural resources and long-standing experience in offshore oil and gas, ship-building and power generation, the UK is in prime position to accelerate commercial progress in the marine energy sector and secure economic value by selling marine energy devices, developing wave and tidal stream farms and creating new revenues from electricity generation. Our report indicates that wave and tidal stream resources could ultimately supply up to a fifth of UK energy needs. Given the sector’s potential as a low carbon and indigenous energy source, growing the marine renewables market is an exciting prospect as part of the UK’s fight against climate change. However, public support and private investment is needed now to step up the pace of marine renewables development in the UK and ensure it meets its potential.’

In light of the reports findings, the Carbon Trust recommends that the UK public sector funders should consider the following ways to support the development of the UK marine energy sector:

• Give increased support over time for marine renewables technology development, with greater support for RD&D and cross-cutting technology issues to help deliver cost reductions;

• Support marine renewables project development from now into the medium term, contingent on technologies proving technically viable in the first instance, and later- on evidence of reducing costs;

• Develop a clear long-term policy framework for support to give business greater investment certainty.

The Carbon Trust says that it’s Marine Energy Challenge has been ‘unique in the way that it brought together small scale developers of marine renewables technology with engineering expertise in order to accelerate the overall development of the sector. Following an open tender, eight technology developers were selected to work with engineering specialists in offshore engineering and power generation and improve the chosen concepts- all of which were offshore wave energy converters. Detailed studies were also made into other technologies where developers did not participate directly, including shoreline and near-shore Oscillating Water Column wave energy converters and tidal stream energy generators.’ Full review in Renew 162

For more:

Wave and tidal- £85m UK market

Investment in wave and tidal energy could create a £85m UK market within four years, according to a report on the opportunities for Scottish companies in marine renewable energy by consulting firm OTM, entitled ‘Marine Renewable (Wave and Tidal) Opportunity Review’, produced for the Scottish Enterprises Energy Team.

It says ‘The fact that the marine renewables sector is less well developed than other energy industries presents companies with both opportunities and challenges. The lack of an established industry structure can make entry into the market uncertain for newcomers. However, this lack of structure also means that companies are potentially more able to create and take opportunities than is possible in other parts of the energy industry.’

The market is just starting to develop, but global capital expenditure between 2004-08 is estimated at £72m for wave energy, with 50% focussed on the UK, while for tidal projects it was £55m, with 90% related to the UK. Colin Gordon of the SE Energy Team said ‘It is reckoned wave and tidal power will yield a UK-based market alone worth £90m in the next few years’.

Source: ReFocus Weekly

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