ocean energy

Aquamarine Power to perform Oregon wave energy study

Not content with achieving impressive increases in wind power capacity and ramping up solar PV, the state of Oregon in the US is now turning its attention to wave energy. Aquamarine Power USA LLC, a subsidiary of wave energy company Aquamarine Power UK, has been awarded a matching grant by the Oregon Wave Energy Trust (OWET) to look at the potential for using wave energy to produce clean, sustainable electricity along Oregon’s coastline.

The $50,000 (€36,600) grant will pay for a feasibility study into the potential for deployment of Aquamarine Power’s Oyster wave energy technology off the coast in the service areas of Central Lincoln People’s Utility District and/or Tillamook People’s Utility District. Specifically, the grant is intended to help deploy Acoustic Doppler Current Profile (ADCP) devices that measure and record the frequency, intensity and height of waves as they approach the Oregon shoreline. Aquamarine Power will be searching for local vessels to deploy the devices.

Aquamarine Power USA was one of four companies to be awarded a grant by OWET under its OWET Industry Matching Program. “These feasibility grants have been awarded to companies with proven technology to help develop projects or make wave energy technology more efficient, longer lasting and cheaper,” explains Jason Busch, Executive Director of the Oregon Wave Energy Trust. “The companies and their technologies have been through thorough due diligence by the US Department of Energy. Providing match funding is key to spurring the wave energy sector's growth as the industry looks to other coastal states as a possible anchor.”

Community involvement key

For the past four months, Aquamarine Power’s Oregon-based team has been reaching out to local communities seeking local stakeholders’ views on the most suitable locations for potential sites to install arrays of its Oyster hydro-electric wave energy technology. The outreach process will continue after the ADCPs have been deployed.

Aquamarine Power USA’s office is in Newport (Oregon) and is headed up by John Fedorko, who joined the company in 2009 from the wind energy industry. Because Aquamarine Power is strongly committed to supporting local communities, Lincoln County resident Theresa Wisner has been brought on as community outreach coordinator. Wisner was hired because of her experience on commercial fishing and research vessels, along with her skills in community outreach and education.

“We obviously are very honoured and excited to receive this matching grant from OWET. These crucial extra funds will allow us to study and record Oregon’s immense wave power potential, and the money helps us with one of the most important items in the development process: proving the wave resource at a given site,” said Fedorko. “Aquamarine Power USA sees this as a strategic first step in bringing utility-scale wave power to Oregon, and we thank OWET and their partners at the Oregon Innovation Council for believing in our proposed Study Plan, our machine and our people. Oregon has a great wave resource, but it also has a great environment for doing business.”

Oyster consists of a simple oscillating wave surge pump, fitted with double acting water pistons, deployed near-shore in depths between 4 to 8 fathoms. Each passing wave activates the pump, which delivers high pressure water via a closed-loop sub-sea pipeline to the shore. Onshore, the high-pressure water is converted to electrical power using well-proven hydro-electric generators. The most complex part of the system is onshore, accessible 365 days a year, and means that none of Oyster’s electrical generation equipment ever comes in contact with sea water.

Aquamarine Power UK is headquartered in Edinburgh (Scotland). The company successfully installed its Oyster 1 wave device in Orkney (Scotland) in 2009 and plans to deploy its next-generation Oyster 2 in Orkney in the summer of 2011.

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Aquamarine Power


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