February 10, 2012
By Hal Spence of The Homer News: Waves and tidal currents off Alaska’s coastline would generate more than 850 terawatt-hours of electrical energy annually if fully developed, according to two reports recently released by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Much of that potential lies untapped in the waters of the Cook Inlet region, a location already under study by hydrokinetic energy companies.
Federal resource assessments of the national coastline show wave action and tidal streams could “contribute significantly” to and diversify the country’s energy supply, according to a Jan. 19 Department of Energy press release. That clean and renewable energy, when combined with conventional hydropower and other water resources, “can potentially provide 15 percent of our nation’s electricity needs by 2030,” the DOE said.
The two federal reports, “Mapping and Assessment of the U.S. Ocean Wave Energy Resource,” and “Assessment of Energy Production Potential from Tidal Streams in the U.S.,” represented “the most rigorous analysis” yet of the nation’s ocean energy resources, DOE said.
One company already engaged in developing hydrokinetic resources in Cook Inlet under permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is Ocean Renewable Power Co., or ORPC, which has partnered with Homer Electric Association.
The two companies are engaged in monitoring the inlet environment and assessing and characterizing a site off Nikiski in the East Forelands area of the inlet.
ORPC, which has been developing tidal power systems since 2004, hopes to produce power for the Railbelt electrical grid by 2014, said Doug Johnson, director of business development for the company. Plans announced early last year called for a 150-kilowatt pilot project to be up and running in the water in 2013. However, Johnson said, those plans were pushed back a year to allow ORPC to fully concentrate on powering up its first commercial-scale generation system this coming spring in Cobscook Bay, Maine.
“It will be our first fully grid-connected tidal generation system,” he said. “It will put us on the world stage as a pre-eminent energy company.” More
November 8, 2011
The U.S. Roadmap and Executive Summary are available online: http://www.oceanrenewable.com/roadmap
Today, the Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition (OREC) unveiled the first U.S. Marine and Hydrokinetic (MHK) Technology Roadmap. The roadmap describes the issues, challenges and opportunities facing the MHK industry and outlines a clear and logical path to its commercialization. Technologies that capture energy from free-flowing waves, tides and currents represent the potential to provide up to ten percent of U.S. electricity consumption and continue to make advances and gain popularity in coastal communities around the world.
Canada’s Ocean Renewable Energy Group (OREG), the Canadian MHK trade group, announced the release of its own industry roadmap today at the OREG annual conference in Montreal, where the Honorable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, was on hand to receive the first printed copy.
Also announcing similar initiatives this Fall include:
The ORECCA Offshore Renewable Energy Roadmap (European Union);
The International Energy Agency’s Ocean Energy Systems International Vision for Ocean Energy;
3rd phase SuperGen Marine Energy Research Consortium (United Kingdom); and,
The Chilean Energy Ministry and the British Embassy in Chile recently commissioned a marine energy strategy for Chile.
“The fact that Canada and the U.S. announced MHK roadmaps on the same date, along with the announcements of additional regional and international MHK roadmaps, underscores the competition and cooperation we’re experiencing in this fast growing industry.” said Sean O’Neill, OREC’s President. “A clean energy future is in everyone’s best interest. As North America enters the global competition, we are joining an international race based on common interests in energy security, job growth and economic development, environmental improvements and the reality of finite fossil fuel resources.”
Chris Campbell, OREG’s Executive Director, commented, “Canada’s strategy is based on existing sales of river current generators, wave and current monitoring equipment worldwide, Alstom’s development of a Canadian tidal technology to be the world’s first 2 Megawatt system and the strategy we are seeing emerge around tidal opportunities in Nova Scotia.”
Bob Thresher of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory facilitated the development of the U.S. Roadmap. “Countries in Europe produced similar roadmaps as long as ten years ago,” he said. “The U.S. Roadmap is a critical step forward in the domestic commercialization of these technologies. Support from the U.S. Department of Energy and colleagues from overseas, including Henry Jeffrey of the University of Edinburgh who has had his hand in just about every Roadmap, worldwide, helped move this along.” he added.
“I am delighted to have been involved in so many of these efforts,” added University of Edinburgh’s Dr. Henry Jeffrey. “International interest in coherent strategic planning shows how serious these efforts are. There is significant global recognition of the economic and environmental benefits this sector can deliver and the increased system reliability supported by a diverse supply portfolio.”
John Huckerby, Chairman of Ocean Energy Systems, the international intergovernmental consortium welcomed the number of national and regional initiatives that complement the international vision just released by OES. “These initiatives highlight the growing recognition of this industry and its potential contributions to energy security, our environment, and our economies.”
“Since 2008, the U.S. Government has invested more than $50 million in the MHK sector. This roadmap and continued federal support will help protect these investments and lead to energy independence, a cleaner environment and the potential to export clean energy technology and capture a piece of this global market estimated at over $600 billion (U.S.),” said O’Neill.
The U.S. MHK Roadmap spells out the steps necessary to achieve at least 15 Gigawatts of grid-connected MHK power by 2030 and create up to 36,000 jobs in the process. The Roadmap emphasizes the need for coordinated efforts, continued funding for research, development and deployment activities and support for an environmental study program that would help place vital data into the public domain.
About the Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition
The Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition (OREC) is the only national trade association exclusively dedicated to promoting marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy technologies from clean, renewable ocean resources. Founded in April of 2005, the Coalition has grown to over 60 members including technology developers, consultants, law firms, investor-owned utilities, publicly owned utilities, universities, and scientific and engineering firms. The coalition is working with industry leaders, academic scholars, and other interested NGO’s to encourage ocean renewable technologies and raise awareness of their vast potential to help secure an affordable, reliable, environmentally friendly energy future.
OREC seeks a legislative and regulatory regime in the U.S. that fosters the growth of ocean renewable technologies, their commercial development, and support in the race to capture the rich energy potential of our oceans. While other countries have already deployed viable, operating, power generating projects using the emission-free power of ocean waves, currents, and tidal forces, the U.S. is only beginning to acknowledge the importance of these technologies.
December 6, 2010
*This story talks about the Ocean Renewable Power Company and its tidal turbine project in Cook Inlet.
By Bruce Dorminey and The Daily Climate in Scientific American: For eons, powerful tides have raged through Puget Sound, ripping along at 11 feet per second at their peak, predictable as the phases of the moon.
Three years from now, a local utility hopes to begin converting a portion of that raw energy to electricity, part of a growing effort to harness the tides to power homes and businesses miles from the smell of salt air.
The Snohomish County Public Utility District’s pilot project is small – two turbines with 500 kilowatts of total capacity and an average output of 50 kilowatts – hardly a panacea for all that ails the United States’ energy portfolio. But tidal power is garnering increasing attention as a niche supplier of renewable alternative energy in Washington, Maine and Alaska. The tides, some say, have the potential to light five percent of the nation’s homes – nearly nine gigawatts of generating power.
And with wind and solar increasingly seen as viable commercial energy alternatives in the United States, investors and public utilities also seem more willing to literally test tidal energy’s waters.
“There is a realization that a diversified suite of renewable energy resources will displace fossil fuel,” said Monty Worthington, who is directing a tidal energy project in Alaska for the Maine-based Ocean Renewable Power Co. “To establish a place in the emerging marine renewable market, the time for [U.S.] investment is now.”
September 17, 2009
Portland, Maine-based Ocean Renewable Power Co. today was awarded two Department of Energy grants, totaling more than $1.3 million, to develop tidal power technology. The first DOE grant of $750,000 will help ORPC develop a standard mooring system for the tidal generators the company is building. The mooring system will be tested and deployed in the waters off Eastport, where ORPC is developing a tidal power project. The second grant, for $600,000, is to help the company monitor the effects of tidal generators on marine mammals, particularly whales. That technology will be tested at an ORPC facility in Cook Inlet, Alaska, according to the release.
July 20, 2009
Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) invites you to attend a presentation on tidal and wave energy by Voith Hydro in the AEA boardroom on Friday, July 31st, 8:30AM to 12:30PM. There will be an opportunity to participate by webinar.
Please RSVP to Marge Cabanski or call 771-3081.