Original image link to a project description from OPTT that gives more details on the project.
I’ve been waiting for this for about 4 years now (maybe longer). We finally have a bit of wave generated electrical power being ‘grid connected’. I was beginning to despair as California had the PUC decline to license a project off the California coast. (Just because the state is bankrupt, that’s no reason to change our ‘NIMBY’ policies… better to just keep on chasing industries out of the state…). OK, Finavera’s loss can be gain for OPTT.
In October (2008), Finavera’s plans for wave power in California were dashed when the California Public Utilities Commission denied an application for a deal between PG&E and Finavera for a 2 MW project in the Golden State. Finavera made headlines when it signed the deal last year, calling it the first commercial wave energy contract in the U.S.
Finavera still has wave projects in the works for elsewhere in British Columbia, as well as in Washington state and South Africa, but when the California wave power deal was sunk the company said that going forward it planned to focus its efforts on wind energy development in British Columbia, its neighboring province of Alberta, and Ireland.
But Hawaii is not so dumb. Nor are the US Marines.
U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corp Base, Hawaii
Has just completed the grid attachment of a wave power facility. The facility has been running for almost a year already, just not connected to the power grid. From a
Business Wire Press Release via Marketwatch.com:
Ocean Power Technologies Completes First-Ever Grid
Connection of a Wave Energy Device in the US
PENNINGTON, N.J., Sep 27, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (“OPT” or the “Company”) announces that it has completed the first-ever grid connection of a wave energy device in the United States at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii (“MCBH”), in conjunction with the US Navy. This connection demonstrates the ability of OPT’s PowerBuoy(R) systems to produce utility-grade, renewable energy that can be transmitted to the grid in a manner fully compliant with national and international standards.
The PB40 PowerBuoy is part of OPT’s ongoing program with the US Navy to develop and test the Company’s PowerBuoy wave energy technology. The project began as a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program at the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Key program goals include demonstrating system reliability and survivability, and the successful interconnection with the grid serving MCBH.
The PowerBuoy was deployed on December 14, 2009 approximately three-quarters of a mile off the coast of Oahu in water depth of 100 feet. To date, the PowerBuoy has operated and produced power from over 3 million power take-off cycles and 4,400 hours of operation. The PowerBuoy grid interface was certified in 2007 by an independent laboratory, Intertek Testing Services, as compliant with national and international standards, including the safety standards UL1741 and IEEE1547, and also bears the ETL Listed mark.
DISCLAIMER: I own a tiny position in OPTT and own some Birkshire Hathaway (who own Business wire). Though in fairness, mostly I’ve just lost money on OPTT and own it as I’m interested in the technology.
OPTT Ocean Power Technologies
As you can see, I’ve been riding it down from “upper left to lower right” (though I owned it before the run up to the peak too). At present, the chart looks a bit ‘bottomed’ with RSI having the ‘low dips’ at ever higher points, MACD with ‘blue on top’ and above zero, and DMI with blue on top. The SMA lines are ‘merged’ with price on top and separation to the upside forming.
OK, it’s a ‘flakey little start up’ with nearly no income. But this is a big step forward. It will likely continue to take years, but once there is an existence proof of making money and power, folks will buy more of these. As it is wave power (and NOT tidal), you don’t have the 2 x day slack tide time. Waves tend to be there all the time, though with some variance.
Wave From Where?
Most of the waves at sea come from storms and wind way off in the distance. So as long as there are storms, there will be wave power. This makes it pretty easy to predict the power likely to be available, as storms exist for weeks at a time and have fairly clear seasonal variations.
For places, like the U.K., that are located in waters with many storms (especially during winter) it ought to make a good match to demand patterns.
This site, for example, tracks storms:
currently featuring Hurricane Matthew (now a tropical storm) passing Tabasco in Mexico. (I always knew Matthew liked Tabasco ;-)
so you can easily see what wave makers are out there.
And the demand looks to be ‘built in’ (from the OPTT project description link up top):
The PowerBuoy deployment site is located approximately three-quarters of a mile off the coast in 100 feet of water. Compact and modular in design, the PB40 PowerBuoy is less than 12 feet in diameter and 55 feet long. It is based on OPT’s proprietary design which is primarily below the sea surface when deployed, with minimal visual impact. Deployment of the PowerBuoy was supported by Hawaiian diver and workboat subcontractors.
OPT is proud of the support which it has received from officials at the Marine Corps Base in Hawaii and the US Navy. This reflects the Navy’s long-term commitment to renewable energy and reducing its dependence on fuel oil shipments. Many of its naval bases around the world are suitable for OPT’s wave power stations.
How Much Power Is Available?
FWIW, in this article:
I’d done a rough estimate (based on production in a different location) that a field of these devices of about 1000 miles long (less than the Pacific Ocean coastline of the USA) and about 4 miles wide could provide all the power needed for the USA. (Though clearly you would not want to have all your power supplied by one type of source). That is one heck of a lot of power available, should we wish to use it.
I’m adding a diagram of the whole structure and a link to their technology page and the product description page.
http://www.oceanpowertechnologies.com/tech.htm Their “technology” page entry point that has several sub pages.