Oceanlinx, Rhode Island advance two wave energy projects

Gov. Donald Carcieri and wave energy developer Oceanlinx Ltd. announced additional details December 4 about a memorandum signed earlier this year calling for development of two wave energy power plants off the Rhode Island coast.

Oceanlinx announced October 26 that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with state officials for a 1.5-MW wave energy test plant at Block Island, eight miles off Rhode Island’s coast, with intent to develop a separate 15- to 20-MW wave energy project off Point Judith, just outside Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay.

Australia-based Oceanlinx, formerly named Energetech Australia Pty Ltd., said it expects the Block Island test site will be co-funded by grants of up to $4 million by Rhode Island state agencies, with the balance expected to be financed by low-interest bonds.

Rhode Island officials have been working with Oceanlinx since 2003. They include the initiative under Carcieri’s plan to use hydropower and related technologies, such as wave energy, to help Rhode Island increase its renewable energy to 20 percent of generation by 2011. (HNN 9/12/06)

The governor, other state officials, and Oceanlinx officials held a news conference at the University of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay Campus to outline the non-binding memorandum of understanding and state efforts to arrange project financing. Oceanlinx proposed working with the university to develop a center for study of wave energy technology, to locate its East Coast headquarters in Rhode Island, and possibly locate a manufacturing plant in the state.

Before the projects can fully proceed, officials said the Rhode Island Legislature and the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. must approve bond financing. The projects also would require approvals of the Coastal Resource Management Council and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Oceanlinx is developing wave generators tethered to the sea bottom that utilize its Oscillating Water Column technology in which wave action compresses air that turns turbine-generators. Oceanlinx announced its intent in October to launch an initial public offering on London’s Alternative Investment Market to raise up to $72.6 million. (HNN 11/6/07)

Earlier this year, Oceanlinx filed an application with FERC for a preliminary permit to develop the 10-MW Florence Wave Park project (No. 12793) off the coast of Oregon. (HNN 5/14/07) It also signed a memorandum of understanding in October to install a 2.7-MW wave park off an island in Hawaii. Oceanlinx had other wave developments at various stages in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Namibia.

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