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September 2012 Issue

Statoil Requests Commercial Wind Lease for Hywind Maine
Statoil North America (Houston, Texas) has requested a commercial wind lease to build a demonstration project of full-scale floating wind turbine technology offshore Maine, the Department of the Interior announced in August.

The proposed Hywind Maine project, located about 12 nautical miles off the coast, would have a 12-megawatt production capacity through four wind-turbine generators. The Statoil proposal also responds to a request for proposals issued by the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has been discussing the project with Statoil and is working closely with the Maine Renewable Energy Task Force. The next steps of the project include moving forward with environmental review and determining whether there is competitive interest from other developers. The bureau seeks public comment in preparation for an environmental impact statement (EIS) that BOEM intends to prepare on Hywind Maine. Comments must be submitted by November 8.

Statoil North America submitted an unsolicited application for a commercial wind energy lease on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore Maine to BOEM in October 2011. BOEM determined Statoil to be legally qualified in November 2011, and technically and financially qualified in April 2012. The area Statoil has requested for a commercial wind lease covers approximately 22 square miles, which could be reduced based on the EIS analysis and other factors.

BOEM is asking whether other developers are interested in constructing wind facilities in the same area off the coast of Maine in order to determine whether to proceed with leasing on a competitive or noncompetitive basis. Indications of interest in acquiring a lease for the area proposed by Statoil must be submitted to BOEM by October 9.

Oceans Could Provide 10 Percent Of Australia's Electricity
Ocean renewable energy could supply up to 10 percent of Australia's electricity by 2050, provided there is a price on carbon and the specific technology remains within appropriate capital and operating cost thresholds, according to a report published in July by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Compared to wave-energy devices, the prospects for large-scale deployment of tidal- and ocean-energy devices and systems are less likely to penetrate the market before 2050, the report found.

Australia's wave-energy resources are concentrated along the country's southern coastline. For example, the total wave energy crossing the 25-meter-depth isobath between Geraldton and the southern tip of Tasmania is more than 1,300 terawatt-hours per year, about five times the country's total energy requirements. The economics of energy extraction, transmission, environment and social impacts, among other factors, will determine its future exploitation.

The east coast also provides a consistent, albeit not as large, contribution. Tidal energy is most abundant in the Kimberley region in Western Australia and Banks Strait off Tasmania; ocean currents off the east coast of Australia; and ocean thermal energy off the coast of far north Queensland. The report estimated 8 terawatt-hours per year for a King Sound (Kimberley, Western Australia) barrage scheme and 0.13 terawatt-hours per year at most for a Banks Strait tidal-stream project. Additional work needs to be done to better quantify the available extractable power from tidal flows.

Nontidal ocean current energy was found to be the least technically and economically viable. But its 44 terawatt-hours per year potential is large enough to attract commercial interest.

WindServer Vessels to be Classed For Offshore Wind Farm Service
Germanischer Lloyd (Hamburg, Germany), which released in May the first comprehensive set of classification rules for crew boats and offshore wind farm service craft, announced in August that it will class the order of six of the new Fjellstrand AS (Omastrand, Norway) WindServers: two 30-meter and four 25-meter vessels, built by Fjellstrand for World Marine Offshore A/S (Esbjerg, Denmark).

The vessels will have a speed of 25 knots and the capacity to carry 25 and 12 service personnel, respectively. They are scheduled to enter service in March 2013.

The Fjellstrand WindServer is designed to improve access to offshore wind-turbine installations in rough weather, improve fuel efficiency, ensure the safety of personnel and reduce running costs.

The vessels will be equipped with four engines that power two controllable pitch propellers and ballasting systems for shifting between rough-weather and lightweight-transit modes. A fixed stabilization foil adds stability as an integrated motion-damping device intended to reduce construction and maintenance costs by avoiding complex active motion control systems.

Scotland Launches Its First Marine Energy Park
The U.K. government designated the Pentland Firth and Orkney area as Scotland's first marine energy park in July. The venture will include the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, where wave and tidal devices are presently being tested.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said the official launch of the park would enhance Scotland's position in the marine renewables industry, the BBC reported.

The Scottish government has committed more than £30 million to marine renewable energy, including investment in EMEC, and has invested further in the sector with the £18-million Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund, the BBC reported.

More than 25 marine energy leases have been awarded in Scotland thus far, said Aquamarine Power, the company that engineered Oyster wave-power technology, which captures energy in nearshore waves and converts it to electricity.

To encourage investment in the Pentland Firth and Orkney area, the company suggested tax incentives and accelerated capital allowances.
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