StingRAY wave device being tested at wind center
The National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) began validation work earlier this year on the first water power technology tested in NWTC’s 5-MW dynamometer testing facility.
This technology is the StingRAY wave energy converter being developed by Columbia Power Technologies, based in Corvallis, Ore. StingRAY uses a direct drive with a very large diameter, said Columbia Power’s Chief Operating Officer, Reenst Lesemann. NWTC’s dynamometer can mimic the sea, with back-and-forth oscillation, and will put the generator through its paces to ensure it can withstand ocean forces.
“Though designed to benefit the wind industry, NWTC’s large dynamometer facility is being leveraged to help advance new ocean energy technology,” said NWTC Director Daniel Laird.
“We have one of the only facilities in the country with a dynamometer that can apply rotational torque at the speeds and forces required while also applying non-torque loads – which are side forces that simulate the action of a rogue wave hitting a wave energy converter in the ocean,” said Mark McDade, NWTC project manager. “This matters because the structures of these energy conversion devices must be designed to handle the side forces without damage.”
In 2013, the US$20 million facility was opened after being constructed with funding by a grant from DOE and the American Recovery and Investment Act. During the next few months, NREL said, the StingRAY unit will be connected to NWTC’s Controllable Grid Interface for electrical performance characterization.
Open-water demonstration of the system is scheduled for later this year at the U.S. Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site in Hawaii.
US$40 million available for open-ocean U.S. wave energy facility
The U.S. Department of Energy will provide up to US$40 million in funding to build the first open-ocean, power grid-connected wave energy test facility in the U.S. at a site off the Oregon coast.
U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) made this announcement in late December via a press release The wave energy test site will be built about 6 nautical miles off the coast of Newport, Ore. A partnership of Oregon State University, the University of Washington, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and renewable energy innovators applied for the federal funding earlier this year. The senators, along with Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), urged DOE to award the funding for the Newport site in an October letter.
The funding award will allow the partners to build infrastructure, such as open-water test berths and undersea cables, which private companies would then use to test their current energy technologies. Companies seeking to test their designs at the site will not have to undergo separate permitting and installation processes – lowering the cost and speeding up the process for developing new wave energy technologies, while bringing business and jobs to the area.
Halifax Supreme Court hears arguments for Cape Sharp turbine
According to the Courts of Nova Scotia, the Halifax Supreme Court held hearings in January and February with regard to the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fisherman’s Association (BFIFA) challenges to Cape Sharp Tidal Venture Ltd.’s deployment of two, 2-MW tidal energy turbines at the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE).
FORCE, located in the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, is a Canadian research center for in-stream tidal energy.
No timetable was set for an announcement of a ruling from the court prior to the hearing dates.
At issue is the tidal energy research project’s monitoring program, which was approved by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment in June 2016. Approval of the monitoring program granted the installation of Cape Sharp Tidal turbines at FORCE.
BFIFA contends the turbines will cause environmental damage and the monitoring program is insufficient.
According to Cape Sharp Tidal, its project is seeking to use the initial 4-MW farm as the first phase of a commercial-scale project. Subject to regulatory approvals, the development will grow to an output of 16 MW [six more turbines] in 2017, 50 MW [17 more turbines] in 2019, and up to 300 MW [150 more turbines] of energy in the 2020s, generating power for nearly 75,000 customers.
In October 2016, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia announced its decision to deny a request from BFIFA to stop a planned tidal turbine deployment prior to the scheduled 2017 hearing review on project environmental concerns before the court.