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Marine Renewables

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September 2011 Issue

RWE Pulls Support for Wavegen, 'World's Largest' Wave Farm
RWE npower renewables (Swindon, England) withdrew support in July for the Siadar Wave Energy Project, Voith Hydro Wavegen Ltd.'s (Iverness, Scotland) planned four-megawatt renewable energy project that is said to be the world's largest wave farm project.

The Scottish newspaper The Sunday Herald first reported on the decision, and Wavegen said in a statement that it is now seeking a new owner and investors.

Wavegen plans to use an oscillating water column to generate electricity at a site off the Isle of Lewis in Scotland. RWE said it would continue work to develop marine renewable energy.

"RWE Innogy, although no longer proceeding with the Siadar project, continues to work closely together with Voith, and will focus upon marine tidal current technology," the company said in a statement.

For more information, visit www.rwe.com.

BioPower Systems Power Module Grid-Tested, Ready for Sea Trials
BioPower Systems' (Mascot, Australia) 250-kilowatt O-Drive power conversion module has successfully delivered stable power to the grid over extended periods during recent testing and is now ready for sea trials, the company said in August.

The O-Drive module is designed to plug into and detach from moored wave and tidal energy systems, such as the BioPower's bioWAVE and bioSTREAM. It is driven in an oscillating fashion to convert ocean energy into grid-ready AC power using a hydraulic circuit, an electric generator and complex control algorithms. A test rig was built to reproduce ocean forces and apply these to the O-Drive in order to perform tests.

Work commenced on the O-Drive in 2008 under a project partly funded by an Australian Commonwealth Government REDI grant. BioPower said it will use the O-Drive module in a bioWAVE pilot demonstration off the coast of Victoria, Australia, and also plans to produce a one-megawatt commercial version of bioWAVE, which would utilize four 250-kilowatt O-Drive modules. For more information, visit www.biopowersystems.com.

Study: North Sea Wind Farm has Positive Impact on Fauna
A North Sea wind farm offshore Egmond aan Zee, Netherlands, had few negative effects on fauna and even seemed to have benefits for some marine life, researchers said in a study on the wind farm's short-term effects. Their report was published in Environmental Research Letters in August.

The scientists said the wind farm structures provided new habitat for organisms living on the seabed, such as mussels, anemones and crabs, thereby potentially contributing to increased biodiversity. For fish and marine mammals, it provides an oasis of calm in a relatively busy coastal area, the study found.

The research, carried out over a two-year period by IMARES researcher Han Lindeboom and his colleagues at Bureau Waardenburg and Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, said there was little effect during the first few years on the benthic organisms in the sandy areas between the wind turbines.

The fish fauna turned out to be variable, and some minor positive effects were observed. For example, the wind farm seems to provide shelter to cod. Porpoises were also heard more often inside the wind farm than outside. Though various bird species, including the gannet, avoided the wind farm, others, such as seagulls, did not seem to be bothered. The number of birds that collided with the turbines was not determined but was estimated to be low, based on observations and model calculations.

The scientists concluded that the impact of a wind farm depends on the its location and the depth of the surrounding sea. The location of the Dutch wind farm was favorable due to the relatively low numbers of birds that fly through the area. The presence of various habitat types and the intensity with which the area is used by others also play a role, the scientists said.

Driving piles into the seabed during construction can have a disruptive influence and potential effects were expected from the presence of new hard substrate, researchers said. Effects might also result from the presence of rotating wind turbine blades, possible underwater noise and the absence of other human activities such as commercial fishing. For more information, visit www.wur.nl.

Aquamarine Power Unveils Oyster 800 Wave Energy Device
Edinburgh, Scotland-based Aquamarine Power debuted in July the Oyster 800, a hydroelectric wave energy converter.

The 800-kilowatt device was scheduled to be transported from Scotland's Firth of Forth to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland, for installation later this summer, where it will be fixed to the seabed around 500 meters offshore. This will be followed by a commissioning process, during which it will be connected to an onshore hydroelectric generator via subsea pipelines.

Manufactured by Burntisland Fabrications, it will be the first of three Oyster 800 devices to be installed at EMEC, with two others to be deployed in 2012 and 2013. All three Oysters will be linked to an onshore hydroelectric plant to form a 2.4-megawatt array.

The project has been supported through grant funding awarded by Scottish Enterprise and the Carbon Trust Marine Renewables Proving Fund. Aquamarine Power installed and grid-connected its first full-scale 315-kilowatt Oyster at EMEC in 2009. For more information, visit www.aquamarinepower.com.

BOEMRE Studies Offshore Wind Along Eastern Seaboard
BOEMRE released in July a draft environmental assessment that considers potential environmental and socioeconomic effects of issuing renewable energy leases in designated wind energy areas offshore New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

The draft environmental assessment, part of the "Smart from the Start" initiative for Atlantic offshore wind development, also considers potential environmental impacts associated with site assessment activities, such as the installation and operation of meteorological towers and buoys on leases that may be issued in these areas. For more information, visit www.boemre.gov.


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

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