Finavera narrows sites for 20-MW wave plant in South Africa

Ireland-based Finavera Renewables Ltd. announced April 19 it has completed the preliminary site evaluation and selection process for a 20-MW wave energy power plant to be built off the coast of South Africa in the next five years.

Finavera said a preliminary report by ZLH Consulting Engineers Ltd. identified priority sites for the estimated US$40 million project. (HNN 9/26/06)

�The site selection report confirms the strong wave resource off the coast of South Africa and identifies two areas for potential development,� Finavera Chief Executive Jason Bak said. �Further work needs to be carried out before a final site selection is made, but we are well on our way to making this project a reality.�

The company said several factors were taken into account when assessing potential sites: wave resource potential, distance from potential customers, distance to appropriate ocean depth, proximity to transmission lines, visual impact, and proximity to shipping lanes.

The study also examined the political and economic climate as it relates to renewable energy. Electricity prices are expected to increase 5.1 percent per year, creating favorable market conditions for renewable energy.

�We are confident that this project will illustrate how the developing world can mitigate climate change, help alleviate energy poverty, and make a commercial return on a significant ocean energy resource,� Bak said.

The next phase of the project will entail detailed site selection and preliminary planning studies, along with the associated project development and structuring work.

Finavera previously said its wave energy division, the former AquaEnergy Group Ltd. of the United States, would build the project. The project is to generate more than 30 million kilowatt-hours per month, save US$2 million per year in fuel, and avoid about 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Finavera committed to the project in 2006 at the Clinton Global Initiative, a problem-solving gathering convened in New York by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

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