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Alstom tidal turbine reaches production milestone
An Alstom tidal turbine has now reached its full nominal output capacity of 1 MW after a series of gradual increases in power, the company says.
The unit — being tested off the Orkney coast at the European Marine Energy Center — first began producing energy in March. Since then, Alstom said the unit has contributed more than 10 MWh to the grid while working in actual operating conditions.
“We are enthusiastic about the initial tests of our tidal stream turbine, which successfully demonstrated the advantages of Alstom tidal turbine technology in the challenging environment of the Fall of Warness in Orkney,” Alstom Ocean Vice President Rob Stevenson said.
Alstom said the unit has been tested in a number of operational conditions via the Energy Technologies Institutes ReDAPT (Reliable Acquisition Platform for Tidal) program and shows reliability and performance as projected by studies using a 500 kW test unit deployed in March 2012.
Next, the company said, it will begin tests of the unit’s autonomous capabilities, with tests in pilot farms to follow.
The tidal turbine units were originally developed by Rolls-Royce’s Tidal Generation Limited, which Alstom acquired in January.
Carnegie orders foundation for wave energy demonstration site
Hydrokinetic developer Carnegie Wave Energy Ltd. has ordered offshore foundations for its wave energy project off the coast of Perth in Australia.
Keppel Prince Engineering Pty Ltd. will supply the equipment, while Fugro Seacore Australia Pty Ltd. will be responsible for its installation. Bluescope Steel is supplying the steel to be used in structural pile foundations.
Carnegie Wave Energy said the offshore foundations are the ninth main equipment portion ordered for the demonstration site, which is expected to have a capacity of about 2 MW when complete.
The site, to be located in western Australia off the Perth coast, will use Carnegie’s “CETO” generating system. The system uses a fully submerged buoy that relies on the vertical motion of waves to drive a pump, which in turn delivers pressurized water to an onshore turbine via a submerged pipeline.
The company and partner Triton Renewable Energy completed tests of a CETO unit off Bermuda’s south shore.
The project is being funded by a number of entities and low emissions energy development programs. Carnegie said installation of the foundation will begin by the end of this year.
In related news, in August McDermid Offshore Solutions signed an agreement with Carnegie Wave Energy to provide hydraulic fluid for the company’s Perth hydrokinetic project. McDermid said the project will make use of its WECS Fluid, which is a newly designed water-based formula.
Enel Green, 40South Energy to deploy ocean unit off Italy
Renewable energy company Enel Green Power and hydrokinetic developer 40South Energy have begun installing a 100 kW wave energy unit in the sea near Punta Righini in Italy.
The unit, designed and built by 40South Energy, is called the R115 and could provide enough power for 80 homes, the group said.
Pending successful testing, Enel Green said it plans to consider installing more of the R115 units. The Rome-based Enel Group already includes traditional hydropower projects in its renewable fleet, though the company said Enel Green’s collaboration with 40South Energy is its first foray into ocean power.
40South Energy is a group that designs, manufactures and markets wave energy converters and has offices in the United Kingdom, Italy, and the USA. The company has been working with the University of Plymouth in England since 2012 to develop the R115. In addition, 40South Energy is working with other partners to develop more hydrokinetic energy parks in England, Italy, India and other countries.
Pentland Firth’s capacity less than initially thought, study says
Hydrokinetic resources in Scotland’s Pentland Firth could eventually provide a capacity of up to 1.9 GW, according to results of a new study led by Oxford University.
The study concluded that Pentland Firth’s generating potential is considerably lower than some earlier estimates because it accounts for factors including how many tidal turbines could realistically be built, how series of turbines would interact with each other, and fluctuations in tidal cycles.
“Our study provides the first robust data about how much energy it would be feasible to extract,” said lead author Dr. Thomas Adcock of Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science.
Unlike other studies, Adcock said, Oxford’s used mathematical models to emphasize unit placement and how other turbines might affect efficiency and output. Researchers also used an averaged output projection to better determine the mean capacity between spring and neap tides.
Oxford said its study suggests the extraction of 500 MW of ocean energy capacity is “very promising,” with a maximum of 1 GW being “realistic.”
“Building handfuls of tidal turbines in ‘plots’ of ocean leased out to individual developers is not going to extract the maximum energy from Pentland Firth,” Adcock said. “To make the most of this unique site, the placement of turbines would need to be carefully planned.”
The UK’s Department of Energy & Climate Change launched the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Energy Park last year.
Swansea Bay hydrokinetic project continues moving forward
Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd. (TLP) has reached a significant milestone in the development of a massive hydroelectric project with the announcement of three design, build and deliver agreements.
In November 2012, TLP announced it would likely receive private financing for the project from Atkins Engineering, Van Oord and Costain Infrastructure, among others, although the three have now been named for the project’s actual development phase as well.
TLP says the US$966.5 million project will consist of a 6 mile-long, 35 foot-high semi-circular sea wall that will enclose an area west of Swansea Marina in the UK. The wall would be dotted along its length with a number of hydro turbines, giving the project a cumulative capacity of about 250 MW.
Costain will work in developing and managing the schedule for pre-construction and construction phases, developing construction methodology for civil engineering works including turbine and sluice structures, access routes and complex temporary works.
Meanwhile, Atkins will provide engineering design and geotechnical expertise. TLP said this includes “designing both the turbine house and the innovate breakwater bund wall, which uses a combination of giant tubular sand bags protected by armor made up of different-sized rocks.”
Last, Van Oord is developing construction methodology suitable for the harsh off-shore conditions in Swansea Bay.
Should permitting progress as hoped, TLP said the Swansea Bay project could be connected to the Welsh electricity grid as early as 2017.
EREC adds ocean energy group to membership
The European Ocean Energy Association has been accepted as a member of the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), the group announces.
The Ocean Energy Association is an organization devoted to promoting hydrokinetic development throughout the EU. Ultimately, the group said, it hopes to leverage at least US$640 million for the ocean energy sector by 2020.
“We are very happy that Ocean Energy joins the united voice of the European renewable energy sector,” EREC Secretary General Josche Muth said. “This further strengthens our common effort towards what European citizens have asked for time and time again — a resource efficient renewable energy system.”
Since its founding in 2000, EREC has grown from six to 11 members, representing European trade and research associations active in a number of renewable energy fields. The European Small Hydropower Association is also an EREC member.
“If we are going to decarbonize our energy supply, make the most of Europe’s domestic resources and create new jobs, we need a steady supply of new, renewable energy technologies,” Ocean Energy Association Chief Executive Officer Sian George said. “Bringing Europe’s ocean energy online will have several benefits for the renewables sector as a whole.”
Tocardo signs deal with law firm, makes energy distribution deal
Hydrokinetic turbine manufacturer Tocardo of The Netherlands has entered into a strategic business partnership with international law firm Clifford Chance, giving Tocardo access to specialist legal and administrative support for tidal energy projects worldwide.
The company said Clifford Chance will support it in establishing special purpose vehicles (SPV) for wave energy projects via the firm’s office in Amsterdam. “This strategic partnership will help us deliver tidal energy projects anywhere in the world,” Chief Commercial Officer Radboud van Kleef said. “SPVs are established for every project. The expertise and global network of Clifford Chance, as well as standardized procedures, will greatly simplify our work and enhance the success.”
The partnership represents a “major step,” Tocardo said, in the development of its business.
In other news, renewable power trader Climex has agreed to sell marine energy generated by Tocardo Tidal Turbines through its green energy trading platforms.
The arrangement will see Climex sell Tocardo-produced energy, allowing “businesses and other large-scale electricity users to add tidal energy to their renewable energy mix,” the Dutch company said.
“Our agreement with Climex will make tidal energy readily available to corporations and government agencies at competitive prices,” Tocardo Chief Executive Officer Hans van Breugel said. “This is an important step in Tocardo’s efforts to create a well-functioning market for tidal energy, which can provide 10% to 20% of the world’s demand for electricity.”
Climex, which specializes in the trade of demonstrably green energy, said the addition of Tocardo significantly enhances its offerings. “The agreement with Tocardo fits our strategy to provide renewable energy sources to high energy users in a transparent and reliable way,” Climex General Manager Jeroen van de Kletersteeg said.
Marine energy not yet meeting UK green bank criteria
The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in the UK says that the marine and tidal energy sector does not yet merit priority status in terms of the Green Investment Bank’s (GIB) criteria for funding.
The governmental office was respondong to a query from Power Engineering International on why the Edinburgh-based agency doesn’t prioritize marine energy projects that are arguably much more in need of investment than onshore and offshore wind, sectors that do not appear to have the same problems in generating funding.
GIB’s remit is to mobilize private sector capital investment into green infrastructure projects and accelerate the UK’s transition to a green economy, but it appears that the objective is to be arrived at in a particular way that is not currently favorable to a marine energy investment.
“The best way for the GIB to attract additional finance and new sources of capital into green sectors is by demonstrating such investment can be made on strongly commercial terms. It is not that the GIB’s investments must be either profitable or green: they must be both,” said Jonathan Cook of the BIS.
Cook outlined that those priority sectors are agreed to be offshore wind, waste (processing and recycling and energy from waste), non-domestic energy efficiency and the Green Deal and added that “the government considers the bank can have greatest impact in generating additional investment in green infrastructure by focusing on these sectors in this initial period.”
GIB can also invest up to 20% of its funding over the period in the other sectors that are within its approved remit, which includes the Marine Energy sector, and the BIS official says marine energy will come more into the reckoning for priority funding if it can live up to the profitability and environmental criteria.
“It is possible that wave and tidal energy will become a priority for the GIB in the future subject to there being progress in demonstrating that such projects can provide an appropriate commercial return and meet the GIB’s investment criteria.
“It may be noted that the programs operated by the BIS sponsored body, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), would be relevant to those seeking funding for the development of marine energy technologies. This is the prime channel through which the government supports business-led technology innovation. The TSB’s programs include the Smart Scheme and Collaborative R&D program,” Cook says.
BIS also stated that the government’s commitment to enabling GIB to borrow has always been conditional on meeting targets on reducing public sector net debt overall as a proportion of gross domestic product.
Wave power developer Sustainable Marine Energy (SME) has relocated its offices and workshops from London to East Cowes, on the north coast on the Isle of Wight. The move came after the company determined the Isle of Wight has the support system it needs to continue developing its tidal energy turbine platform, PLAT-O.