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May 2011 Issue

MCT Aims to Install its First Commercial Tidal Array in 2015
Bristol, England-based Marine Current Turbines Ltd. (MCT), in partnership with RWE npower renewables (Swindon, England), submitted a consent application in March to install a 10-megawatt array of tidal stream turbines off the northwest coast of the Welsh island of Anglesey in 2015.

The companies said the tidal power array, consisting of seven twin-rotor turbines arranged across an area of 0.56 square kilometers, will generate enough power for more than 10,000 homes on the island.

The tidal farm will use MCT's SeaGen energy technology, which works in principle like an underwater windmill. The array will be situated between the Skerries islands and Carmel Head about one kilometer off the Anglesey coast.

If the planning consent is granted, it will be the first tidal array in Wales demonstrating the commercial viability of this technology. The companies estimate the project cost at £70 million and said local businesses will be contracted for the assembly, installation, operation and maintenance of the tidal array when possible.

"Tidal power is a predictable and reliable source of renewable energy, and our technology can play an important part in helping Wales realize its renewable energy targets as set out in the Welsh Assembly Government Energy Policy statement," said Martin Wright, chief executive officer and founder of MCT.

For more information, visit www.marineturbines.com.

OSU Renewable Energy Center Tests Power of Neptune Device
The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Oregon State University (OSU) helped Neptune Wave Power (Dallas, Texas) test the motion and power output of Neptune's new wave energy technology, in which wave action would cause a horizontal pendulum to rotate and drive an electric generator. The tests were run in March at the Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory at OSU.

"Eventually, the combination of the new test berth, the two wave basins on our campus and our wave energy linear test bed will provide some of the best facilities in the world to evaluate and test wave energy devices," said Annette von Jouanne, an OSU professor of electrical engineering and a leader of wave energy research.

A range of other projects is also moving ahead at the center, said program manager Meleah Ashford. Studies are under way in advanced wave forecasting, device and array optimization, device reliability and survivability, environmental effects, social impacts and other topics.

"There are tremendous opportunities for wave energy but still many challenges," Ashford said. "The development and evolution of this technology is moving at a careful and steady pace, in part because we want to be very responsible, consider all the issues and perfect the best technologies."

Design, analysis and permit work is also continuing for what will be the world's first site for testing wave energy devices in the Pacific Ocean near Newport, Oregon. For more information, visit www.nnmrec.oregonstate.edu.

Technologies, Methods Studied For Profitable Wind Farms
Offshore wind farms require additional capital investment due to more expensive marine foundations, integration into the electrical network and installation procedures in addition to limited access for operations and maintenance during operation.

So say the authors of the "Offshore Wind Installations and Constructions Report," published in March by Wind Energy Update.

The report found that offshore wind farms being built further away from the shore, using larger and much heavier turbines, pave the way for new innovation in offshore wind. Monopile foundations are being pushed to their structural limits in the Greater Gabbard wind farm project off England's coast, the report found.

Experts interviewed for the report said there are only 15 vessels available for the installation of cables in offshore wind farms and learned how the industry is coping with the shortage. They also found that offshore cabling generates 70 percent of insurance claims, even though it represents only seven percent of the capital costs.

Other findings include that the cost of large-scale offshore wind farms—currently at around £3 million per megawatt—must come down by at least 15 percent to ensure the economic viability of offshore wind.

The report examines best practices for marine foundations, installation vessels and cabling in offshore wind farms using case study analysis with offshore wind farm developers. For more information, visit here.

Levant, Battelle Work to Develop Ocean Power Harvesters
Battelle (Columbus, Ohio) and Levant Power Corp. (Cambridge, Massachusetts) announced in April plans to develop and commercialize wave-energy-harvesting technology for ocean systems.

The companies hope to address the challenge of providing consistent, uninterrupted power to sensors, vehicles and communications systems for ocean devices with "OceanGen" power units. The first two phases of the program will involve development and a technology demonstration. Levant, which has been developing OceanGen over the past year, and Battelle plan to jointly manufacture the OceanGen system.

Ocean buoys, seafloor-mounted and floating platforms derive nominal power from solar cells, battery packs and, in extreme cases, diesel generators. The limited available energy, which comes in unreliable intermittent bursts, means real-time status for sensitive communication systems is greatly compromised, the companies said.

The first OceanGen systems will be targeted at weather buoys, oil and gas platforms, research platforms and military applications requiring 50 to 100 watts of power, the companies said, although future systems will have applications ranging from naval "C4ISR" systems to marine navigation and sensor platforms. The technology is designed to be able to scale up to the kilowatt range, if required. For more information, visit www.battelle.org or www.levantpower.com.

2012:  JAN | MARCH | MAY | JULY | SEPT | NOV
2011:  JAN | MARCH | MAY | JULY | SEPT | NOV

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